Tag Archives: Joey Santiago
Pixies – Beacon Theatre – May 26, 2015
The settings in which we experience music can enhance and shape its impact. Listening then becomes a whole-body, visceral involvement, calling on all the senses. The places where we listen—cars, bedrooms, chambers of performance—affect the atmosphere and provide the scenic backdrop for our dances. Putting on the Pixies can provoke the kind of primal physical abandon normally associated with basements, backyard keggers and beach partying, so when this legendary band took the stage of the hallowed and glorious Beacon Theatre on Tuesday night, the reverence of the landmark space temporarily contained the energy that felt at some point would have to spill out into the aisles. Lunging in with the anguished surf ’n’ turf punk rock that is exclusively theirs, Pixies abruptly ignited the collective mood of anticipation, transforming the famed venue into a ceremonial grounds for their historic catalog. The assembly of avid “lifer” fans mixed with the new generation, sharing in common the appreciation of rock mastery and the gravitation to a kind of music that has served to channel the band’s vital restlessness.
Taking full advantage of impassioned company and the savory acoustics of the space, Pixies played a comprehensive set of a vast scope of work, weaving in and out of timeless classics and lesser known B-sides and current releases. Not content to rest on their laurels, they leaned into new and unusual material with the giddiness of a high school band at their first talent show, then pivoted into oldie-goodies, turning spectator intrigue into frenzied sing-alongs. All of it was presented with the dramatic arc of a rock opera. “Wave of Mutilation” ascended deliberately and hovered, with Frank Black’s voice crawling through Paz Lenchantin’s deep, muddy basslines. Then seizing on the hypnotic mood, Pixies grabbed the crowd by the necktie with the raucous anthems “Break My Body” and “The Holiday Song.” Lenchantin drove numbers like “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Velouria,” spookily mimicking former bassist Kim Deal with her playing and support vocals, while David Lovering’s flawless percussive churning intertwined with Joey Santiago’s standout guitar fluency on heavyweights like “Debaser” and “Bone Machine.” All throughout, Black’s unmistakable voice, which has remained as vibrant and true as it was on their earliest recordings, poured over the music like molasses. Pulling it all together like the firebrand lead he’s always been, Black added color and peaks at all the right moments with his quirky hoots and zany chirping.
By the time “Gouge Away” crept in with an extended-bassline intro and escalated into its deviously enabling chorus, Pixies were in full bash-out mode, playing with a purpose and zeal, proving that they’re anything but a band of yesteryear, reliving former glory. And ultimately, those in the Beacon audience had left their seats and spilled into the aisles, lending to the atmosphere that transcended the ornate walls, making it feel like the whole room had been whisked from its Upper West Side locale to a moonlit rager on the beach. It sure is magnificent when music can do that. —Charles Steinberg
Tags: Beacon Theatre, Charles Steinberg, David Lovering, Frank Black, Indie Cindy, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal, Kings Theatre, Live Music, Music, Paz Lenchantin, Pixies, Review
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With interruptions and turbulence a regularity throughout the Pixies’ nearly 30-year history, the group has reunited to tour in recent years, reinforcing their influence and affirming their legacy. Not much has changed in their approach to playing their visceral and bizarrely seductive collection of punky, surf-rock hits since their mid-’80s beginnings. The raw, scraped-knee energy is still intact, and so are frontman Black Francis’s agonized vocals, which spar with and then soften to linger over Joey Santiago’s shrill guitar textures. Drummer David Lovering still reliably supplies the amplification, together with new bass player Paz Lenchantin, who has slid in seamlessly. They eschew aura and flair, and, of course, the no-nonsense attitude and restrained angst still remain central. Touring behind their fifth studio full-length (and first in 23 years), 2014’s Indie Cindy (stream it below), Pixies (above, performing “Green and Blues” for KEXP FM) return to New York City to play three shows this week: tonight and tomorrow at the Beacon Theatre and on Thursday at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Talented singer-songwriter John Grant opens each night. —Charles Steinberg
Tags: Beacon Theatre, Black Francis, David Lovering, Indie Cindy, Joey Santiago, John Grant, Kings Theatre, Live Music, Music, Paz Lenchantin, Pixies, Preview, Video
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Pixies – the Capitol Theatre – January 19, 2014
With interruptions and turbulence a regularity throughout the Pixies’ nearly 30-year history, the group has reunited to tour in recent years, reinforcing their influence and affirming their legacy. And on Sunday night at the Capitol Theatre, they put on a retrospective show that ran the gamut of their visceral and bizarrely seductive collection of punky, surf-rock hits. Not much has changed in their approach to playing music since their mid-’80s beginnings. The raw scraped-knee energy is still intact, and so are frontman Black Francis’s agonized vocals, which spar with and then soften to linger over Joey Santiago’s shrill guitar textures. Drummer David Lovering still reliably supplies the amplification, together with new bass player Paz Lenchantin, who slid in seamlessly.
Of course the no-nonsense attitude is still central. The Pixies eschew aura and flair. Dressed in black and lit from behind, they punched out songs with restrained angst, letting the weight of their music take center stage. Toeing the line between atonal cacophony and loose, twangy melodies, the comprehensive set included all of the songs that have defined the Pixies. Classics like “Bone Machine” and “Wave of Mutilation” got the crowd involved early, and after mixing in a couple of new songs, the band geared up for the heart of the show. “Carribou” elicited bellows from the crowd singing along in fervor, which continued into the chorus-driven “Here Comes Your Man.” During “Vamos,” Santiago indulged in a full-on guitar monologue, punctuating and interjecting the steady, up-tempo drum rhythm with shredding, discordant flourishes.
Attention and anticipation built with each song, and in a stroke of calculated brilliance, the performance entered the final act with the epic “Where Is My Mind” and concluded with “Gouge Away,” making a sudden stylistic transition into the scintillating “Debaser.” Throughout their tight professional delivery, there remained a rough rehearsal element that has long marked the Pixies’ style and has always appealed to a large portion of their fan base. But most of all, they proved to be the genuine article. In the current alternative-rock climate of new bands coming and going, searching for identity, the Pixies are a true example to follow. They stepped up and laid it down, showing how it’s done: no fuss, no introduction needed, confident of the path they’ve paved. —Charles Steinberg
Pixies – The Bowery Ballroom – September 17, 2013
One of my life’s most pleasant surprises came to me back in 2009, when I was blessed with the chance to see a band I never thought I would see live, the Pixies. They were on a short reunion tour in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of Doolittle, playing a set of the entire album start to finish. While they had reunited just a few years earlier for some shows (including a big one at Coachella), I never had any expectations that a band that had broken up via a series of faxes would start playing enough shows again for me to see one. But life is funny like that, and now I have had the chance to see them twice.
Last night’s Pixies show at The Bowery Ballroom may well serve as the epilogue to this pleasant surprise, with this tour being my chance to see them play every great song they may have missed on that Doolittle tour. Sure, this time they are sadly without Kim Deal, but outside of that it’s the same ol’ Pixies. Look no further than Black Francis’ gritty squeals of “U-mass,” singing “IT’S ED-JOO-KAY-SHUN-AL!” so loud and distorted it’s amazing he didn’t end the song on his knees searching for chunks of his own bloody vocal chords he may have screamed out. It’s incredible that this song came early in their set, and Francis somehow still had the voice to sing through the rest of the night.
The show featured several interesting set-list choices, beginning with two covers, “Big New Prinz” by the Fall and “Head On” by the the Jesus and Mary Chain. Most in the audience seemed to be looking at one another thinking these must be the new Pixies songs, but with the first few chords of “Crackity Jones” and its subsequent spastic hoedown, the venue was losing it. The band played through a healthy blend of songs from their four studio albums, performing the likes of “Tame,” “Wave of Mutilation,” “Hey” and “I’ve Been Tired,” alongside some of their albums’ lesser-known fan favorites (mine being “Caribou”). “Vamos” went into a noisy jam fest that toward the end featured Joey Santiago unplugging his guitar, holding his chord to his head and running the distorted electronic screams through his effects pedal. Pixies followed that with the night’s last song, “Where Is My Mind.” And where was my mind during this? It was hoping to see them a third time, because good things don’t always have to come to an end. —Dan Rickershauser
Tags: Black Francis, Bowery Ballroom, Doolittle, EP1, Jesus and Mary Chain, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal, Kim Shattuck, Photos, Pixies, Review, the Fall
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