At 8.45pm sharp, the Pixies take their assigned spots on stage to the Beatles “You Know My Name” and kick off with oldie “U-mass”, Black Francis’ distinctive vocals inciting the stirrings of a violent circle pit, comprised of a new generation of angst-ridden teens.
As Francis’ guttural scream reverberates during “Broken Face” throughout the intimate confines of Margaret Court Arena, it signals the band’s return from a hiatus of seven years when they last toured Melbourne. Three years prior in 2007 was the first time ever that the Pixies toured Australia and in retrospect, nothing can quite match the intensity of that first show.
Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On” is given the Pixies treatment, showcasing Joey Santiago’s impressive fret work and David Lovering’s stellar drumming. “Mr Grieves” sees Santiago make his guitar screech. Santiago is on fire, during “Vamos” he lifts his guitar above his head, the feedback squall echoing throughout the arena. And as the Pixies rip through old classics “Gouge Away”, “Wave of Mutilation”, “This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven”, and “Hey” the sentimental nostalgia is palpable. “Where is My Mind,” is haunting even without Kim Deal, with smoke billowing out for full effect. Paz Lenchantin on bass since 2013, brings depth to the gargantuan bottom line.
The Pixies are relentless. Old and new songs spewed forth in quick succession. There is no between song banter from any band member, no high tech special effects, and no filler, just the unadulterated loud, quiet, loud oeuvre of the Pixies, and an old skool smoke machine for effect.
“Into the White” sung by Lenchantin ends a formidable show, and The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter”plays whilst they leave the stage, aptly signalling the aftermath of their annihilating sounds.
The Pixies influenced many bands in their wake, most notably Nirvana, and have survived to continue to play music. While many bands rely on superfluous hype, the Pixies were and are about the music and tonight put on a killer performance on a sultry Saturday night rivalling that of young bands half their age.