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Pixies at Metropolis – Montreal Live Review

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Pixies at Metropolis – Montreal Live Review

Pixies - January 16th 2013 - Metropolis- Photo by Andrej Ivanov

Pixies – January 16th 2013 – Metropolis- Photo by Andrej Ivanov

Who: Pixies
From: Boston, MA
Where: Metropolis
When: Thursday January 16th 2013

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Style: Early Grunge/Alt-Rock

Crowd: When you go to a Metropolis show, you expect the show to be crowded.  Under normal circumstances you’ll still be able to find a place to set up shop temporarily and work while you listen to the music. This was absolutely not the case at the Pixies show. It was a fully packed house at the Metropolis, a completely sold-out night.

For a band from the mid-80s, Pixies attracted every age group.  From the younger (90s kids) to the older, in their forties and up crowd, there was no way to label this demographic. It was quite a surprise to see such a wide age range, but it also gave me hope in the younger generation, that good music is still popular. The crowd cheered loudly as the Pixies screamed, wailed and played a classic sound unheard since the hay days of Bush X, The Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. The crowd erupted into screams and cheers begging for more after each song as the Pixies delivered a plethora of delightful noisy excellence. In-spite of the very packed space, a mosh pit reared it’s head with some healthy crowd surfers.

Technicalities: A sound combining Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam and older Weezer is what best defines this grungy and angst ridden sound.  By no coincidence I should add as it’s fair to say that the Pixies influenced them all. As I previously stated, these guys bring back a classic sound.  There is a melodic dissonance and unconventional coordination in the Pixies that helped define the 90s grunge movement. What else can one say from a band this experienced and seasoned by years of touring and playing?

They combined their new and old sounds with an outstanding light show, the likes of which I have only seen in bigger venues.  However, I do have to be the critical jerk and say that I wasn’t too happy with the large use of back lighting. None the less, the light show and stage setup was riveting. They also had dozens of back panels or screens that showed tunnel-like light show effects. From a musical point of view, the discordance known as the grunge/alternative rock movement was simply lovely. On the flip side, it’s definitely fun when a band can switch from a heavy sound to a more mellow acoustic/rock guitar sound, and Pixies do so flawlessly.  These guys deliver their sound with such passion that the lack of movement on-stage does not detract from the energy of the band. It was truly a full show worthy of the ticket price despite the departure of former bassist Kim Deal, earlier this year.

Sex Appeal: So how many of us have listened to grunge in our angst-y, anti-everything years? How many still enjoy going back to those crazy sounds we grew up on or enjoyed before the turn of the century? Apparently a lot of us!

With the Bieber and Lady Gaga cultures that have taken over our airwaves, it is a breath of fresh air to see that there are still bands out there that play true music and can still pull in a full house to their show.

Memorable Moment/Song: The Peter Ivers (Eraserhead soundtrack) song “In Heaven” that appeared on the Pixies self titled 2002 release was the highlight of the evening.  It definitely was the song that stuck out for me because it was the one song that broke every possible mold that the show had set up to be.  The band took the mellow and relaxed approach to the song (there are numerous versions), echoing to the now famous “Where Is My Mind”, played later in the set.  The simple, dark ballad, also set the mood for the next few songs, showing the far mellower side of the band.  It goes without saying that when “Where Is My Mind” came on, the crowd erupted in cheers, but I almost felt like there was a certain exhaustion in having heard the song countless times. Also worth mentioning is “Vamos” a die hard fans’ favorite from the bands’ first album. It included a very long pause where lead guitarist, Joey Santiago, performed a solo that involved rubbing a drumstick on the strings of his guitar.

Overall: So how can I sum up this show?

It will easily fall on any top 10 list that I make this year. It is truly hard to top something that fell so well into place. A great band, the perfect venue, an amazing crowd, it all worked out in the best possible way to create something that will be remembered amongst Montreal fans for a long time to come.

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Written/Photographed by: Andrej Ivanov



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