Pixies, Brixton Academy, London

Away for so long but not yet a museum piece
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The Independent Culture

Exactly how much this, the first UK night of the Pixies' reunion tour, means to the crowd is shown when they walk on stage to the loudest, most relieved cheer I have ever heard: a moment of mass catharsis that is emotionally devastating. Whether any mere flesh and blood band can live up to the memories that cheer represents is debatable.

Exactly how much this, the first UK night of the Pixies' reunion tour, means to the crowd is shown when they walk on stage to the loudest, most relieved cheer I have ever heard: a moment of mass catharsis that is emotionally devastating. Whether any mere flesh and blood band can live up to the memories that cheer represents is debatable.

Singer Black Francis, never skinny, now has the bald head, black clothes and girth of Brando's Colonel Kurtz. Kim Deal and Joey Santiago flank him, impassive and barely altered. They start in the byways of their back catalogue. "Here Comes Your Man'' is played with acoustic guitars. Only when Francis milks the suddenly pertinent lyric, "he's been away so long,'' does the occasion start to permeate the music. Clearly concerned to be more than a museum piece, they start to fracture songs with instrumental squalls.

The response to faithfully-played favourites shows how alive the old songs are. The crowd is whispering the words of "Ways Of Mutilation'' before Deal starts to sing them. When Francis starts to count down the strange numerical universe of "Monkey Gone To Heaven'' - hundreds of fingers slip the numbers back at him. It's a new ritual, for a new cult; when the Pixies last played, half this crowd were children.

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