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Pixies uphold fine legacy

The Pixies - Sell Out: 2004 Reunion Tour (DVD)
(Rhino)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 20, 2005


Review by Andy Argyrakis

Everybody knows The Pixies are indie rock royalty and have made an indelible impact on numerous musicians throughout multiple generations. Bono has sung multiple praises, David Bowie tagged them as one of the best band to come out of the 80s and Kurt Cobain admits the band's influence on what's arguably Nirvana's most memorable track "Smells Like Teen Spirit." But despite all the kudos, there was plenty of dissention going on behind the scenes, leading to the group's unfortunate demise after only six years together and five CDs on the 4AD label. PixiesSince then singer/guitarist Frank Black has traced a solo career, vocalist/bassist Kim Deal formed The Breeders, guitarist Joey Santiago became a session player, soundtrack composer and member of The Martinis with his wife Linda Mallari, while drummer David Lovering switched careers all together to become a professional magician.

But even after going their separate, distinctly different ways, a reunion was inevitable and the band delivered come late 2003, first rehearsing together, than burying the hatchet on past troubles and finally hitting the road. That sold out tour across multiple cities and countries is the subject of this subsequent DVD, culling together 28 of the group's best- loved catalogue cuts from the Eurockennes Festival in Belfort, France. It all kicks off with Black's haunting cries of "Bone Machine" performed with such cohesion and uniformity that it sounds like the group never broke apart in the first place. And across the next blistering couple dozen songs, the spark comes right back into focus, bouncing between the neck cracking might of "Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)," Deal's glowing rendition of "In Heaven" and the roaring potency of "Something Against You." Additional electricity and moments of all out sing-a-long are displayed throughout the quirky "Monkey Gone To Heaven," the hushed distortion of "Levitate Me" and the sinister aura of "Gouge Away." It all leads up to a stupendous conclusion, featuring the one two punch "Wave Of Mutilation" and "Gigantic," ending nearly 90s minutes of what die-hards could easily call a view of heaven on earth.

Besides this main show revealed its entirety, Sell Out boasts 15 bonus cuts taken from other spots on the tour, including the lauded likes of Coachella, Voodoo Festival, Austin City Limits Festival, Manchester's The Move Festival and Japan's Fuji Rock Festival. This track listing is a mixture between cuts that weren't performed in the aforementioned set list (including "Caribou" and "No. 13 Baby") with some repeats re-tweaked slightly in their respective environments (such as "U-Mass" and "Vamos"). It's all a welcome addition to the already generous outpouring of quantity and quality, though one may wonder why compliers didn't group each of these other cities in their respective bunches. Unfortunately, these add ons seem hastily thrown together, mixed and matched with randomness that first starts with Coachella footage, slides into The Move and then visits Ediburgh's T in the Park. Such sequencing is particularly puzzling because the former two venues are featured again at multiple times in the program and would've flowed much better together. Thankfully though, this lack of organization doesn't detract from The Pixies' fine form and upheld legacy in an otherwise action packed experience that spans a hearty 145 minutes overall. Now that members have this project and the widely popular tour under their belts, their real challenge is to release relevant new material. But based on what's demonstrated in this package, they'll most likely be able to deliver as long as they can carve out time in their touring schedules to settle down in the studio!

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