Pixies, 02 Apollo, Manchester, Thursday 21 November
Monday 25th November 2013 @ 09:00 by Max Wieland

Pixies Live

“It’s going to be loud,” commented a passer-by just before I entered the marvellous and sound soaking 02 Apollo last week.

In actual fact, the Pixies are much more than just loud, and much more than masters of a set-list.

A mammoth 39 songs might sound like a long-haul gig, but with the ferocity in which they picked up speed, the encore arrived with surprisingly swift haste.

The Boston bands first seven songs, which included one of their well-received new singles Indie Cindy and the cult classic Here Comes Your Man, was more B-road than Motorway but eased the full-capacity crowd into a more limp mood.

It wasn’t until around 40 minutes in when the Duracell like David Lovering brought it up a few gears, equally as matched by Black Francis’s screaming vocals.

Standout moments for most of the crowd would undoubtedly centre on the previously mentioned Here Comes Your Man, Hey, Debaser, Where is My Mind and Monkey Gone to Heaven.

All five of these classics drew the biggest mosh pits, the chief cries, flailing arms and even managed to raise the odd spectator to their feet on the balcony.

Despite the classics far surpassing their celebrated studio sound, personal choice moments came from the excellent Isla de Ecanta and new single Another Toe, which brought a rare glimpse of energy and enjoyment from Francis and co.

The majority of the show was performed in silhouette, with the bands set design at first resembling a multitude of amps before cleverly acting as their primary light source throughout the night.

Oozing coolness and electrifying effortless throughout their mammoth gig, the intermittent lighting on the Pixies gave their fans just enough of a glimpse of their idols.

For something that doesn’t happen too often from other artists, their profile presence combined perfectly with the acoustics of the Apollo and with the crowd at bay.

It gave them an edge and control over the audience, and discouraged an ever growing pet hate of increasing amateur photographers at shows.

Their more than value for money set may have been dominated by their critically-acclaimed album Doolittle, but it was their three song encore which broke that mould, bringing two covers, Head On, of Jesus and Mary Chain fame and rather aptly Big New Prinz, which was a poignant nod to one of Manchester’s first cult bands, The Fall.

In recent weeks The Pixies have dominated music news and rightly so, because on this showing, they are most definitely on top of their game without even trying.

The noise that they produced was frightening that even a warning which reads ‘You should wear earplugs and stand outside’ wouldn’t protect you from some short-term damage.

Add to the pot that this was done without original bassist Kim Deal and conducted whilst vertically lounging was an absurd thing to witness.

They put their tightness as a band to full use and ensured that the next time they pull up in these parts; the comments from passers-by will instead be something along the lines of: “This is going to be a night to remember.”

Because on the whole, the Pixies were pretty much flawless!

Review by Max Wieland