We all have those pivotal moments in youth, turning points that mark a profound transition to another, and from then on, nothing is the same.
For me, I was a freshman in high school, and a senior named – believe it or not – Brian Wilson, who also was in the marching band and got in trouble for wearing a Henry Rollins “End of Silence/Since Sucks” t-shirt, gave me a cassette tape.
Side A: “Nothing’s Shocking,” Jane’s Addition. Side B: “Doolittle,” the Pixies. He ruled.
Needless to say, the latter grabbed me the most. So over 10 years into their ongoing reunion, I was naturally amped to see them at the Library.
I was fortunate to seem them during their initial reunion run, with Kim Deal, and was immediately struck by how powerfully savage and fierce they were. You get that impression on “Surfa Rosa,” thanks to Steve Albini’s expert production, but less so on “Doolittle” and “Bossanova.” (Things revert back to unbridled fierceness on the criminally-overlooked, and regretfully under-represented “Trompe le Monde.” More on that later.)
Watching them barrel through “Crackity Jones,” both a decade ago and at the Library last month, the whole Nirvana thing made perfect sense.
Which brings us back to the Library show.
The main difference from their 2004-ish incarnation was, of course, new bassist Paz Lenchantin who, of course, certainly did not disappoint. In fact, insiders tell us that Paz has the amazing distinction of being the musician who has performed the most at the Library in it’s history. Not bad!
Admittedly, I wasn’t up front for the show; rather, by standing on the deck, next to the sound guy, the show put me in a more reflective mood.
Specifically, reflecting on the economical brilliance of Frank Black’s songs. They’re this perfect hybrid of tossed-off surrealism, loose narrative arcs, memorable melodies, and deceptive simplicity.
You can play most of ’em on your acoustic guitar at a Fernwood campfire, but they’d probably be missing something without Joey Santiago’s tasteful licks.
Another promising sign was that when they played songs I didn’t recognize, I wasn’t sure if they were old obscure tunes or new ones. The stuff meshed seamlessly.
My old qualm was, as noted, the fact that “Trompe Le Monde” was only represented by the skull-scorching “Planet of Sound.” (The naive optimist in me was holding out for “The Navajo Know.”
But hey, I’m not complaining. Nor is this dude; in his thorough review, he noted it was one of the best Pixies shows he’s been to – and
he’s seen the a dozen times over 20 years!
Oh, and our pal Terry Way took some awesome photos, which you can see here.