Music review: Pixies, iTunes Festival - Reviews - Music - The Independent

Roundhouse, London

Music review: Pixies, iTunes Festival

4.00

 

The Pixies without bassist Kim Deal should feel like a jam sandwich cream without the sugar-coated jam. The best bit is surely missing and with it the warmth and the evocative, breathy vocals the charismatic Deal provides.

However, Kim Shattuck, lead singer of the Eighties pop-punkers The Muffs, who has the unenviable task of taking over backing vocals and bass duties, is excellent. The 50-year-old is overseen by the impenetrable frontman Frank Black, who still resembles a slightly cross manatee, and his unique brand of post-punk menace.  A studiously head-banging Shattuck doesn’t let anyone down, but it's notable that “Gigantic”, on which Deal memorably sang lead vocal, is sidestepped.

The Boston four-piece, implausibly, reformed in 2004 for the dough. This was after 12 years of acrimony; Black was rumoured to have informed the band by fax that they were splitting up. Anyone who has watched Steven Cantor’s Pixies documentary loudQuietloud knows that the tour couldn’t come soon enough for drummer Dave Lovering, who was a struggling magician. The reformation was a storming success and, finally, after 22 years they’ve now released new material too, first “Bagboy” and then the four-song EP1, featuring the typically angry “Indie Cindy”, with the unfortunate lyric “You put the cock in cocktail, man.” It’s a perfectly respectable slice of despair but it doesn’t possess the vitality of their heyday – 1987 to 1993 – and their 1989 masterpiece Doolittle in particular.

The new tracks - four in total - prove pretty painless, but their performance is galvanised when Black and guitarist Joey Santiago stick to the late Eighties template. In other words, there's plenty of otherworldly wails delivered about his favourite themes (disfigurement, familial abuse, dysfunction – fun stuff) on still vibrant (and unnerving) tracks such as “Hey” (a highlight tonight), “Wave of Mutilation” and ”Caribou“. And the Pixies rattle them off with minimum fuss and zero chatter. They don’t need to engage, not with hook-laden gems like ”Where is My Mind”, “Here Comes Your Man” and “Monkey Gone to Heaven“ in their locker.

Nirvana are often cited as their biggest supporters, but Pixies feel much more like a prototype for earnest grungers Pearl Jam, and their “unique” sound often comes across like a blend of Velvet Underground, T-Rex and old fashioned rock'n'roll.

Essentially they're a quartet of around fiftysomethings thrashing out tunes about teenage concerns in front of an audience (who form a small moshpit) who were, predominantly, toddlers when Pixies were at their most vital. For me, it's a nostalgia trip and it works a treat. Even without Deal.

Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week