So… I saw the Pixies. YOU GUYS I SAW THE PIXIES. I SHOT the Pixies! OH MY GOD! I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. Okay, maybe a significant portion of my life, but still. My ex grew up with the Black family and used to tell me about how he and Frank’s little brother would make fun of the band when they were practicing in the garage. I used to get (still am tbh) so jealous but 20 years later, here we are.
I love the Theatre at the Ace. It’s one of the most historic and beautiful venues in Los Angeles. I produced several comedy/activism events there, but I had never seen a musical act there before. It’s a versatile space and didn’t disappoint. The sound and visibility are both great.
I poked my head in for the opening act, couldn’t tell the difference between the first few songs, and ducked out to clean my lenses in the lobby until those magical fairytale creatures who aren’t quite fairies or elves took the stage. A Pixies show is nothing if not good people watching, and the crowd adequately represented the broad spectrum of ages, hair colors, and types of jackets one would expect of fans of a band that has managed to stay cool for 30 years. I bought a shirt and a Pixies coffee mug to go with my “Mindless Self Indulgence” coffee mug. Fight me.
A little after 9, Black Francis and the band emerged to a super dark stage and started making some ambient sounds which turned into “Where Is My Mind?” and the crowd went wild, because that’s the one they all know (thanks Fight Club.) Eventually the lights came up, and they powered through LIKE THIRTY PLUS SONGS! I’m not exaggerating. It was a marathon of wacky, moody, indie surf rock. They played the songs we came to hear: “Surfer Rosa”, “Monkey Gone To Heaven”, “Velouria”, “Debaser, “Bone Machine”, “U-Mass”, and a decent smattering of tracks from the raison d’etre, Head Carrier, including the lead single “Um Chagga Lagga”. So many songs, you guys. And let me tell you, just because these dudes have been doing this for a long time doesn’t mean they’re sick of it. It may be their 30 years of band practice talking, but it was like I was listening to one big long mixtape. It all sounded great, and Frank can still screech like it’s 1989.
Well into the set, I thought they started playing “Where Is My Mind?” again, and was rather confused for a good 30 seconds. Turns out it’s a song called “All That I Think About Now”, from the new record. Sung by newcomer bassist Paz Lenchantin (Zwan, A Perfect Circle), it’s an ode to Kim Deal, an attempt to make peace, a thank you, an apology. I thought it weird that it so closely echoed that perennial hit, but the more I listen to it the more I understand. The song is nothing if not an echo.
I like Paz. Paz holds it down. She acts as strong support and backup, and does not step into the role of co-force-to-be-reckoned-with, but what she does, she does it well and I didn’t have to suspend disbelief to enjoy my Pixies show. I love Kim and All That Kim Does, but this’ll do too 😉
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