Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pixies Show at Stage Ae Was a Scream

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pixies Show at Stage Ae Was a Scream

Article excerpt

Booking an October show in Pittsburgh outdoors is an iffy proposition, but what we got Wednesday night at Stage AE could not have been more perfect: Frank Black howling under the harvest moon.

Even with the absence of original member Kim Deal, which is a dealbreaker to purist fans, this may have been the best Pixies show in Pittsburgh, where we haven't exactly been spoiled by the Boston art-punk band.

To review: There was that Decade show in 1988 three months after "Surfer Rosa" came out that not a whole lot of people saw. There was the maddeningly brief 25 minutes opening for Love and Rockets at the Syria Mosque. The '92 show at Metropol was canceled when they went on tour with U2, and then they broke up a year later. The comeback tour at Station Square in 2005 had a perfunctory reunion feel to it and the 2014 show Carnegie Music Hall was a little subdued. (I think that's all of them.)

After a roaring opening set by Brooklyn indie band Sunflower Bean, the Pixies eased into this one with "Gouge Away" and it quickly became clear that the 52-year-old frontman was in the mood to scream. As screaming goes, he is among the best, especially in indie circles.

The Pixies, with Paz Lenchantin again replacing Deal on bass and vocals, raged on for 30-plus songs in what amounted to one of the better set lists on the current tour. It had offered most of what you'd want off of a Pixies "greatest hits" collection, some deeper cuts, a choice Jesus and Mary Chain cover ("Head On"), and, to keep it vibrant, a smattering of songs from the recent comeback albums, 2014's "Indie Cindy" and this year's "Head Carrier."

Somewhat hilariously, Black did not utter one single word to the fans the entire night. Nothing. Toward the end, Lenchantin said "Thank you, Pittsburgh." That was it. He was all business, moving from one song into the next at almost Ramones speed, minus the "1-2-3-4's." But he also was clearly in a wild, playful state, adding all sort of vocal yips and hollers into songs like "Crackity Jones" and "UMass. …

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