PIXIES: THE HORSESHOE TAVERN, 06/07/2015
Flashback to 1988: Pixies are booked to play their first UK tour and they will act as openers for label mates Throwing Muses. Well, that plan lasted all of one show, because the hype the English music press had been putting behind the debut UK Pixies performances had sent the fans into a frenzy…and there was no way the poor Throwing Muses stood a chance of weathering that storm! Now fast-forward to 2015 and Pixies are booked to open for Mr. Led Zeppelin himself, Robert Plant, and what do you know…Plant goes down with an illness and Pixies take on a surprise headlining slot at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern instead. Hakuna matata indeed!
Some time after the witching hour of 11:30, the iconic four-piece (let’s make Paz Lenchantin a proper Pixie now please) strode onto the legendary checkerboard floor at the corner of Queen and Spadina and all was right with the world. Without so much as uttering a hello, the band made a failed attempt at opening the show with “Ring The Bell”, a track off of 2014’s comeback record, Indie Cindy. A second attempt was made at another song, which also failed to launch and it had Black Francis mocking that he was quitting the gig and going home. They quickly recovered however and got the mosh pit churning with the crunching power chord romp of “U-Mass.” They kept the heavy hitters coming with “Isla de Encanta” and “What Goes Boom.”
The set moved at a somewhat frantic pace with barely any time for tuning and, in typical Pixies fashion, no interaction with the faithful. We got sing-a-long anthems with “Hey”, “Mr Grieves” and “Cactus”; we got more thrashers like “Something Against You”, the seldom played duo from Trompe Le Monde “Distance Equals Rate Times Time” and “The Sad Punk”; and we got the melodics in the form of “Velouria”, “Silver Snail” and of course, “Where is My Mind?”
I suppose the big news to report is that a new song has made its way into the set and it is titled “Um Chagga Lugga.” It has a somewhat hell-raising tone and is reminiscent of the Surfer Rosa era, perhaps in the vein of “Nimrod’s Son.”
This was a classic balls to the wall, return to the club outing from Pixies and when it was all said and done, the band played thirty-two songs and looked like it could have played thirty-two more. They did go heavy with Indie Cindy material, and to their credit, the songs held up nicely within a set of tried and true classics.
The appearance of “Um Chagga Lagga” leaves me asking: When is a new album coming? The end of this thrilling evening leaves me begging: More, please!
- Johnny Hooper