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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisWhen Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering, better known collectively as The Pixies, reunited in 2004 after an 11 year hiatus, fans went clamoring for tickets that sold out within seconds. While these types of arrangements are often temporary one offs, the indie rock icons have actually stayed together ever since, criss-crossing the globe on headlining jaunts alongside festivals, while simultaneously reconnecting with its original listeners and younger audiences.
Come 2009, the group didn't just decide on the most obvious type of victory lap, but rather to dig deep into its annals for a full-length performance of its now classic Doolittle album, which marks its twentieth anniversary this year. From its initial release through today, that disc has literally inspired everyone from Nirvana to Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, PJ Harvey and practically every like-minded act in between. And after the foursome's ultra tight replication of the fifteen tunes, it was easy to see why that influence has spanned such lauded acts and then some.
After opening with a short film of black and white images, the group first tackled the distortion-drenched B-sides "Dancing the Manta Ray" and "Weird At My School" to prove that this was more than merely a paint by the numbers trip through its most familiar endeavors. But of course, the most momentous reception came from the Doolittle cuts, which blasted off with the brash bang of "Debaser," the growling "Tame" and the grungy "Wave of Mutilation."
"Here Comes Your Man" served as a textbook example of the band's alternative pop songwriting sensibility, while "Monkey Gone To Heaven" shined a fresh light on its sardonic sense of humor. Additional crests included the collision of Francis' stern signing over Santiago's jittery guitars during "There Goes My Gun" and the all out aural assault of "Gouge Away."
While The Pixies were practically flawless throughout the 100 minute performance, skeptics could question the motive behind this type of tour, especially considering new material has yet to materialize since the reunion. Rumors continue to swirl if the band will actually go back into the studio (with Francis even telling NME it could happen as early as next year), though in the meantime, the band's simply flashing back to the past. Even so, it's great to see The Pixies back in top notch form, reminding everyone why Doolittle was so imperative to widening its audience originally and giving an entire new generation something of substance to devour.
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