Pixies, Alexandra Palace, London, August 2005
Pixies! Pixies! Pixies! I get to see Pixies! Yeesssssssssssss! A special venue for a special band. I had not been in the Northern Hemisphere when they first reunited in 2003, so naturally I was chafing at the bit - I must have got wifey to sort tickets out well before I even got to the UK such was the frenzy for this., so well done her. Ally Pally is enormous, a Victorian super structure built in 1875 and now used sporadically for huge gigs by huge bands because it’s Great Hall can hold up to 10,000 standing punters… and Pixies filled it two nights in a row. Talk about excited. Pixies were THE band for me as soon as I ever heard ‘Tony’s Theme’ from Surfer Rosa on Radio Massey circa 1987. That record had such a big, organic sound (courtesy of Steve Albini) and the band went on to rule the alt guitar/indie world with their patented “loud, quiet, loud” approach. The brick Great Hall is a cavernous space, it seems enormous when you’re standing in it, but even though the floor is flat, I think you got a good view of the band from wherever - but naturally we got as close as we could. I had seen Frank Black, I had seen The Breeders, but this was different and I do admit to ear-to-ear grins and excited jiggling. A grown man! To hear ‘Wave of Mutilation’ (both versions), ‘Vamos’, ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’, ‘Where Is My Mind?’, ‘Debaser’, ‘Caribou’, ‘Debaser’, ’Subbacultcha’, ‘Bone Machine’… ah, the list goes on, LIVE was pant-wettingly good. They even hurled in b-sides like ‘Into The White’ and Neil Young’s ‘Winterlong’ in there. Other highlights were Joey Santiago’s frenetic guitar solo; scraping strings with drumsticks, smacking the neck & body, inserting the input jack in & out at full volume. Also got a kick from hearing/seeing Dave Lovering perform his vocal duties for Doolittle’s ‘La La Love You’ - “Take the bus!”. To cap it all off, and deliver teh head shot, they finished up with ‘Gigantic’. Epic. One reunion I will never knock. Only regret is that I didn’t go back up for the second night! One Pixies song? Just a single, isolated, out-of-context few minutes to sum up a band? Easy. ‘Bone Machine’ off Surfer Rosa.