Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pixies play the Barn

It's been awhile, but John the Robert is back. Like most projects, this blog got off to a great start and then petered out once I got distracted, usually by something on TV hosted by Gordon Ramsay. Or a sudden urge to re-evaluate 1980s era Stones records released between 1984 and 1992 (Steel Wheels is always better than I think it's going to be).

And then we got pregnant (my wife in the actual sense, me in the sensitive-and-sympathetic-modern-male sense) and my already nano-length attention span starting going backwards. The closest I got to writing this blog was thinking about not writing a letter to someone in 1988.

Anyway, let's get back to the music, because the music always makes everything right. For what was surely our last live show before Parenthood (unless Bruce Springsteen comes down here for a one off at Al's Bar between now and the end of August) we saw the seminal high water mark of American indie rock - the Pixies, a band so bleeding seminal* that they haven't bothered to release any new music since getting back on the road in 2004.

Am I the only one who thinks seminal is a ridiculous word? It either means hugely influential in a Velvet Underground or Pixies (the two American bands that always get described as seminal) kind of a way, or it means full of semen, in a mid noughties crime show kind of a way ("There was seminal fluid on the nightstand"). English is stupid.

But I'm cool with no new Pixies records. We don't need any. Actually every band should follow suit. Outside of metal, virtually every rock band gets worse as they go on. No one wants to hear the Pixies play new songs. What we want, and what Christchurch got last Tuesday at the CBS Canterbury Arena, were the classics everyone loves and expects - Debaser, Here Comes Your Man, Where is My Mind?, Gigantic - along with a slew of personal favourites - River Euphrates for me, Cactus for the American sitting next to me.

Speaking of which, I think there were about two Kiwis at this show. Wife (Kiwi #1) and I went with a South African and his Japanese girlfriend, along with Stacy the Kiwi #2. Next to us on the right were two Irish girls who complained about the lines for beer and on the right a guy my age from Wisconsin who has lived in Twizel (population 1017) for the past 10 years and somehow makes a living as a DJ. He gave me his card at the end of the show; thank GOD I know who to ring the next time I need someone to spin records while I go fly fishing.

Come on John the Robert, what about the show? We don't care who sat next to you!

It was the Pixies, it was great, and I'd go see them again tomorrow. They played a "smattering of favorites from throughout their career." Their LOUD quiet LOUD thing still works. Stage banter was kept to a thankful minimum. Frank Black's not as fat as the last time I saw them. Kim Deal is slightly fatter. The other two guys looked exactly the same.

Set List: Cecilia Ann, UMass, Dig for Fire, Nimrod's Son, Velouria, The Sad Punk, Break my Body, Broken Face, Cactus, Is She Weird, Mr Grieves, Ed is Dead, Winterlong, The Holiday Song, River Euphrates, Here Comes Your Man, Wave of Mutilation, Gouge Away, Tame, Hey, Vamos, Where is My Mind. Encore 1: Gigantic, Debaser. Encore 2: Planet of Sound

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