Pixilated: A night at the Pixies in Brisbane

When I was planning a long weekend in Brisbane, I asked my up-with-the-music-pulse mate Muddy were there any interesting bands playing the city that weekend. Well, he said, the Pixies are playing the Thursday night and a few mutual friends were going. That was enough for me. Though not a huge fan, I did have a Pixies album in my collection (admittedly it’s a “best of” but whatever,). I was also aware of their reputation as one of the most influential bands of the 90s, though I missed them at their peak. Importantly there were still tickets available and with my credit card still smoking from the cost of the flights from Mount Isa, I forked out another $100 there and then to join the fun.

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The gig was on in the Riverstage, a new venue for me and on the Thursday night the meeting point was the Buffalo Bar before a pleasant walk through the Botanical Gardens. Just outside the Riverstage venue was this Polo with the personalised plates “Pixi35”. The car was empty but we presume there was a big fan nearby somewhere.

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Then it was inside the venue which was far from packed on the night. The venue holds 15,000 but there was only 3000-4000 or so inside. Yet the queue for the bar was a mile long so it was a dry concert for us. The other annoying fact was the 10pm curfew, crass stupidity imposed by Brisbane City Council. Given there are no homes for at least 500m in any direction, perhaps they are worried we’d keep the fruit bats awake. Dumb.

pixies11I took a photo on my phone of the foursome I went with but Muddy and Hugh have disappeared into the gloom while JD is visible but engrossed in his phone. That made the photo all about Joe, who at least looks happy to be here.

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Muddy and I took a spot towards the front. Hugh claims they were only a row or so behind us, but that’s a quantum difference in moshpitness. In any case, it’s lights on and excitement building as the band is about to come to the stage around 8.15pm.

pixies7Finally the band take the stage and blast into their set without too much formality. As the Brisbane Times reviewer said, the Pixies don’t leave time to draw breath with 28 songs in 90 minutes. And it wasn’t long before I was dancing along with their pounding rhythm. The other comment I made to Muddy was that I like a band that does the old-fashioned thing of putting their name on the drums.pixies10

Singer and lead guitarist Black Francis didn’t interact much with the crowd preferring to let the music do the talking for him. I was surprised how many songs I knew Veloria, Where is My Mind, Monkey’s Gone to Heaven, Here Comes Your Man, Debaser and finishing up with Into the White. Plus several more I’ve forgotten.

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Paz Lenchantin has been the bass player since 2014 replacing original female bassist Kim Deal. She was ace and sang a couple of songs too.pixies6

The Pixies were wrapped up and encored out by 9.45pm (at least plenty of time to find another pub). Wouldn’t rush to go back to see them again but they have a great catalogue and entertained with their performance. They were a tight outfit on stage and the drummer/bass combo was top notch. Yeah Blank Frank’s bantz was a disappointment but there is an undoubted aura of something special.

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For a far more musically considered take on the Pixies – and better photos – check out Muddy’s blog piece with links to other reviews. While I admitted took it a bit for granted on the night, reading the reviews reminds me of their importance in the scheme of things and it was a privilege to watch them play.  When I got back to Mount Isa and told people I was at a big concert in Brisbane on the weekend, the usual response was, “oh, did you enjoy Adele?”

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