Live Review: Pixies

Much ado about ’little. Brixton Academy, London, Tuesday, October 6

It’s almost five years to the day since the Pixies played their first reunion show on these shores in this very venue. Scenes of near hysteria, like an FA Cup Final mixed with The Beatles at Shea Stadium wrapped up in first contact with an alien civilisation, were witnessed, with some tracks being almost drowned out by rapturous screaming. Tonight, they’re playing their (most famous but not best) album ‘Doolittle’ from start to finish.

Thankfully they resist the temptation to use a bazooka to shoot fish in a pint glass and open with such star-spun rarities such as ‘Bailey’s Walk’ – “We’ve probably only played some of these songs four times before!” announces Kim Deal. It’s as if they’re making us work for ‘Debaser’, and when they hit the album proper, people don’t look like they know what’s going on. Well, not until the the torrid disco punk of ‘Tame’ and the surfabilly of ‘Wave Of Mutilation’ twist their melons clean off.

This is the album that cemented the group’s aesthetic, and tonight it is like having a deep south preacher murdering you with a surf guitar, a straight-edge razor and the tail fin of a UFO. The show is nothing less than magnificent, even if there’s always the slight suspicion that you’re being spoon-fed like a baby. Most enjoyable (perhaps because of lack of anticipation) is a nuclear-powered ‘Into The White’, which comes on like Hawkwind collaborating with The Velvet Underground. But the truth of the matter is that any sublime experience if repeated often enough becomes dull. It’s what truly makes a mockery of the concept of heaven and hell. There is only one possible trajectory for further Pixies shows, and that is unavoidably downwards if new material isn’t written. In the meantime, though, if they really need more time to think about it, well, like we said, ‘Doolittle’’s not
even their best album…

John Doran