Live Music + Gig Reviews

Pixies @ Brixton Academy, London

6 October 2009

It’s the Pixies. Fuck set lists.

No, seriously. Fuck ’em. Don’t need ’em. Don’t want ’em. Turns out what’s really needed, what’s really, really required is knowing exactly what’s going to come next. There’s a reason why these bands spend all this time sequencing records together.

It’s because surprises are bad. We can prove it. The Darkness are reforming. See? Surprises are bad.

If you must, you can chuck in some obscure B-sides. And sure, if you must, you can finish by playing one of the best songs ever written by anyone. Ever. So long as you ensure that the vast majority of the set is spent playing one of your albums in the correct order as defined by the inlay card, then we all go home happy.

Tonight, we got what we came for. The Doolittle tour gave us Doolittle performed in its entirety, bookended by some B-sides and topped off with some greatest hits. Given that basic build-up, it’s remarkable how good it all was.

Or maybe not. Because while the Pixies reunion bandwagon has now been rolling for long enough to suggest that it’s a little bit more than just a reunion – you’d have thought by now they’d have had more than enough time to have a pint, discuss the old days and then awkwardly make their excuses before vowing never to go on Bands Reunited again – there isn’t a cynicism attached to it.

They may well be in it for the money. But that’s only because no bastard bought the friggin’ records in the first place, isn’t it. They just name-dropped Surfer Rosa, and is there any royalty for that? No, no there bloody well isn’t. And a bunch of long haired hippies saying how much they loved the loud-quiet-loud dynamic of all the records isn’t gonna pay for Frank Black’s conservatory now is it? NO.

Besides. They’ve still got it. Warming up by tossing out a few rarities from the era in question, they barely pause to allow the hardcore fan elements to stop hyperventilating at the sight of it all before crashing into the eyeball-slicing glory of Debaser. Black screams like he’s never been away. Deal responds like she still doesn’t care.

It doesn’t stop. A glorious Hey, a Wave Of Mutilation (one of two tonight) you could surf all the way to Boston, and an utterly deranged Crackity Jones are highlights of a set that has less dips than the Liege branch of the homous liberation front.

As Gouge Away brings everything to a climax, the response is cataclysmic. The band look pleased. Even if they never set foot in a studio again, if they never add another morsel to a discography which looks more perfect with each passing day, the world would be a much poorer place without the Pixies in it. And you’ve got to love them for that.

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