I have a confession. I was never a big fan of the Pixies. Their music never did much for me. One reason is that I disliked Black Francis. A lot. I didn’t like his attitude and that transferred over to how I felt about his music. Loved Kim Deal and The Breeders. Then Frank Black released his solo stuff after the Pixies broke up and I loved it. How was that possible? I have no idea. So when Kenny asked me if I wanted to see the Pixies on one of their four sold-out shows in NYC (three at the Bowery Ballroom and one at Music Hall of Williamsburg) I hesitated. Hate Black Francis but love Frank Black. Which one would be there? When I asked rtb and violaleeblue if they would like to go I found out they were big fans of the Pixies. So that made my mind up. I’d be going to see the Pixies and hoping that there would be more Frank Black then Black Francis.
So another thank you to Kenny for allowing me to see another iconic band on a great stage.
rtb was the first one there and I joined her soon after. At this point there was plenty of room up in balcony but we knew that would end soon. The first thing I noticed was the big light board up in the balcony and the monitor board down on the floor. The stage was set up with lots of lights, some hanging lights, smoke machine, and a series of rectangular opaque glass.
I looked over into the green room behind us and saw a guy tuning his guitar. In what felt like seconds the same guy was on stage. He starts shredding this guitar playing blues licks while singing and banging on a bass drum. Then he went over to sit at the drum kit and he played the drums and played the guitar – at the same time. He had a pick in one hand and the drumstick in the other. Then he plays the guitar with the drumstick. He was doing the Black Keys one better. Then two other guys joined Jordan Cook (aka Reignwolf) – Texas Jo (drums) and his brother Stitch (bass).
Cook is Canadian and makes his home in Seattle now. He’s working on his first album. Cook is amazing. A great guitar player and a natural blues singer. When he first came on stage he was wearing a black leather jacket and his long hair covered his face. Later he took off the jacket and with his plaid shirt he fit in better with his bandmates and their indie look. There will be comparisons to Jack White and the Black Keys but I really believe that Cook is in a class by himself and when his record comes out the whole world will know his name.
During the break one young woman joined the soundman at the board and another joined the light guy. This felt like a bit of a throwback. When the Pixies came onstage everything felt like a throwback. The stage lighting was set up so that for most of the show the frontline was in darkness (only the drummer was lit up). They did have spotlights on their pedalboards. But it was the 1980s all over again with the dark stage and smoke filling the club. Lights pierced through the dark and across the audience. There were lights behind the glass rectangles also. When those lights weren’t on, each rectangle contained a tiny reflection of the band so that it looked like over a dozen TV sets. Upstage a mic was set up that I believe Black Francis was using to speak to the rest of the band (into their in-ear monitors). This was a real rock and roll show set-up.
Black Francis (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), David Lovering (drums/vocals) of the original line-up were there. Kim Shattuck of The Muffs replaced Kim Deal, who quit the band earlier this year, on bass and vocals.
It looks like I got both Black Francis and Frank Black last night. And I liked both of them. You can’t deny the Pixies’ influence on later bands, especially Nirvana. It was a great night and great music. The crowd was not only singing along to old favorites but also to the new songs from their recent EP.
Setlist.fm has the setlist from last night. They played “Nimrod’s Son,” during the night, which is not listed on there. This is the original setlist – they did “Tame” instead of “Sad Punk” (audience request).
If you want to compare with the night before – here is the setlist from Tuesday night. They changed it up a lot so people attending all four nights are getting a different show.
By Carene Lydia Lopez