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Alternative rock architects keep amassing sell outs
while retaining indie ideals

Chicago Theatre
Chicago, IL
October 8, 2017
Pixies Pixies Pixies

Story and photos by Andy Argyrakis

Nowadays, it's difficult to imagine how the Pixies managed to emerge somewhere between the heights of Michael Jackson and Madonna, the merger of melodic rock and hair metal or the beginning of the boy band craze. But considering the Boston-based iconoclasts ignored absolutely everything commercial to excavate an alternative rock niche like few others, it's no wonder why front man/guitarist Black Francis, guitarist Joey Santiago, drummer David Lovering and recent recruit Paz Lenchantin on bass (now that Kim Deal went back to The Breeders) are still combatting scalpers and selling out sizeable venues such as the historic Chicago Theatre to this very day.

After all, this was the group that not only laid the foundation for Nirvana, Weezer, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon and so many more, but continue to sound entirely like its own animal in 2017. And no matter if it was newer tunes from "Head Carrier" or those culled from classic underground collections "Doolittle" and "Surfer Rosa," the Pixies applied a raw, grungy, take-no-prisoners approach to over 30 tunes.

Granted, forceful openers "Wave Of Mutilation," "Classic Masher," "Bel Espirit" and "Debaser" were all relatively short in length, but their constant delivery with very little banter between ensured zero filler and wound up characterizing the entire aggressive evening. Visually speaking, it was a little hard to see the players, but the lighting pods that rotated just as briskly as the tunes provided a pared down, club-styled atmosphere reminiscent of the period when the Pixies packed out the Metro and Cubby Bear.

Although the foursome wasn't shy when it came to pummeling through current material, the bulk of this freewheeling set list came from the second half of the '80s, including "Monkey Gone To Heaven," "Cactus," "Caribou," "Gouge Away" and at least a dozen more. Yet regardless of the era, the Pixies repeatedly displayed its revolutionary role in redirecting the entire course of rock, all while staying true to its indie ideals and reaping the respect in spades.

Related articles:

Pixies - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - April 2011
Pixies - Concert review - Chicago, IL - November 2009
Black Francis / Mark Waldoch - Concert reiview - Madison, WI - July 2009
Stone Temple Pilots / Black Francis - Concert reiview - Milwaukee, WI - July 2008
Pixies - (Lollapalooza 2005) Concert review - Chicago, IL - July 2005
Pixies / Weezer (Summerfest) - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - July 2005
Pixies - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Nov. 2004
Pearl Jam / Frank Black - Concert review - East Troy, WI - July 1998
The Pixies - Sell Out: 2004 Reunion Tour - DVD review
Black Francis - Bluefinger - CD review
Frank Black - Honeycomb - CD review
Frank Black and The Catholics - Pistolero - CD review

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