Last Night: Pixies, Fuck Buttons at Verizon Theatre

Pixies, Fuck Buttons
Verizon Theatre
September 19, 2010

Better than:
listening to the stacks and stacks of albums from bands that claim the Pixies and Doolittle as an influence.

Andrew Shepherd
Frank Black... or Black Francis... or Charles Thompson IV... or whatever he's called these days. For more shots from last night, see Andrew Shepherd's slideshow here.
The first thing you noticed was the crowd.

And it was tough not to take note: The audience at the Verizon Theatre last night was a varied one, pulling in attendees from all ends of the music fan spectrum, from the young 'uns excitedly following their elders around at the hip to the elders without offspring excitedly jumping at the chance to wear their "Death to the Pixies" tees with glee once more.

Lest there was any doubt, let's clear it up right at the start: The Pixies, thanks to their having long being credited as a major influence over the alternative sound of the '90s through today, are as big now, if not bigger, than they ever were in their heyday.

It's a funny thing, too, what with the band's sound--one that brushes with pop genius and body slams earlier notions of alternative. At the time of Doolittle release's, it showcased the band as one with unparalleled breadth, albeit an underground one.

But time has been good to these songs--they've aged quite well, their once-harsh sheen now replaced with an iconic gloss. Make no mistake, though, there is still a certain danger at play here--lyrics about "slicing up eyeballs" tend to have that effect.

So, yes, there was a certain juxtaposition at play last night, seeing this pulls-from-all-corners crowd so very much enjoying a band like the Pixies. And there was indeed further juxtaposition at play when actual images of slicing up eyeballs, culled from Un chien Andalou, the French film that inspired Doolittle lead-off "Debaser," showed on the video screen behind the band at the start of its set. At this moment, the crowd audibly gasped--surprisingly, as if they'd never actually heard the lyrics to one of the band's most popular songs.

It was odd indeed. And it begged the question: Who is it that goes to see the Pixies these days, and who is it that the Pixies think they're playing for? They're fair questions to ask, for the above reasons and when given both the sterility of the venue in play and the high production value of the band's touring set-up for this show.

Though fun to ponder, the answers don't really matter.

Because, see, nostalgia and adulation trumps all.

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