Yes, you read that right
Tilly Foulkes
12:33 21st July 2022

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It’s not often one of the most influential American rock bands of all time - credited as “the best band of the 1980s” by David Bowie and famously inspiring none other than Nirvana - play a tiny venue in northern England. Announced only 36 hours before they’re set to take the stage, Band on the Wall - a 500-cap venue situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter - sold out in minutes, and it seems everyone is asking the same question: “Can you believe we’re actually gonna see Pixies in here?”

Things kick off immediately - with no support or a hello to the crowd, they play 41 songs back to back perfectly, gracing the stage for two hours on the dot. Frontman Black Francis plays with a keen concentration - his eyes barely open throughout the set, and he makes no action to imply he even knows there’s a crowd in front of him, hanging onto his every word. The dynamic between Francis and Joey Santiago is astonishing to see in the flesh - two compelling and distinctive artists who, even on stage, remain innovative in their musical creativity. Paz Lenchantin’s unwavering giant grin is contagious - her harmonies are as exquisite as her bass playing, and David Lovering’s charged drumming holds each track in place as the guitar riffs spiral out.

Perhaps it’s the 38 degree weather, but the crowd is still for most of the gig - though that’s not  to say they weren’t entirely enthralled with the performance. ‘Here Comes Your Man’ inspires a euphoric singalong, where not one person is left without smiling. Following a flawless rendition of ‘Gigantic,’ Lenchantin receives her own chant - ‘We love Paz!’ - which one man obviously misses, as he later rushes to the front to declare his love for Kim Deal, much to everyone’s annoyance. 

Songs from Surfer Rosa and Doolittle are the ones people are most excited to see, but for lesser known tracks the crowd remain watchful and silently awestruck. ‘Hey’ and ‘Debaser’ are charged with energy, while watching the likes of ‘Caribou’, ‘Broken Face’ and ‘Crackity Jones’ is almost inconceivable. ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’ expectedly loosens the crowd up entirely. 

There’s no endeavour on the band’s part to gain the crowd’s attention - because it’s unnecessary. They’re effortlessly mesmerising to watch - masters at work, performing some of the most intricately constructed songs to date. It’s a surreal and transcendent display of talent.

The crowd continues to applaud long after the band’s last song - ‘Bone Machine’ - and the subsequent, well-deserved bows the performers take. Pixies are a band always at their prime - they continue to ooze brilliance with everything they do. Tonight has been a special celebration of excellence - the effects of which were felt by every person who stood in that room. 

See photos below from Saffron Rose:

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Photo: Saffron Rose