The Pixies live in Oakland
RPM contributor Jeff Yih reviews the Pixies’ epic performance at the Fox Theater in Oakland and Aaron Rubin provides some incredible photos.
Pixies at the Fox Theatre in Oakland
By Jeff Yih (all photos by Aaron Rubin)
Thursday night saw the Pixies on their latest tour stop by the Fox Theater in Oakland. For those living in a cave over the last 30 years: the band formed 1986, broke up in 1993, reformed in 2004 and have influenced pretty much everyone in contemporary music. Also in the last 5 years they have released new material with a brand new LP and a series of EPs (Head Carrier and the compiled Indy Cindy respectively).
The question would always be which old records would be emphasized and how much new material would be showcased. The answer to the first would be (in order of songs) mostly from Doolitle, with Surfer Rosa/Come on Pilgrim next and then Bossnova/Trompe Le Monde the least. As to the second question: about 1/3 of the set was new.
With their set at 2 hours and 37 songs, the band rolled through their catalog efficiently; eschewing any crowd interaction. Resplendent in formal dark clothing with massive light scaffolding set up behind them, they came across as a group of serious, seasoned pros. Unlike the departed and always effervescent Kim Deal new bassist Paz Lenchantin mostly hovered in the background, she sang lead on “All I Think About Now”.
With entry into bigger venues, a band’s sound can get quashed into some lowest-common-denominator of loud drums and guitars with buried vocals. Sad to say there was a bit of this going on in the beginning of their set. After a while, the sound improved and the band appeared to find their bearings.
Still, it was good to hear the classics (including “Here Comes Your Man”, “Caribou” and “Vamos”) even in this rock ‘n’ roll setting. It almost seems like with this band, your imagination can and does fill in the difference between the live setting and your own personal conception of the song. Such is their influence and standing in the pop consciousness. The band ended with a two-song encore culminating with with “Debaser” – a song that has probably at this point spawned it’s own genre. On this night in Oakland, The Pixies proved that a band with great songs can do no wrong.