Alt-rock legends The Pixies visited Knoxville on Saturday night and brought with them a night full of crazy, eccentric music.
After forming in Boston in 1986, the group shocked the world with their unique style of music, merging heavy metal guitar riffs and screamed, psychedelic lyrics. The band rose in popularity until their breakup in 1993, and they are still cited as big influences on bands such as Nirvana, Weezer and Radiohead.
After their reunion tour in 2003 almost completely sold out, the band knew that they had to get back together and make more music. Ever since then, the band has continued to make new music and tour around the world.
Before the Pixies took the stage last night, Australian singer-songwriter Angie McMahon played as the opening act. McMahon, indie-rock musician, is very different than the Pixies, so the pairing of the two was an odd choice. Nevertheless, she was a joy to watch and was clearly having the time of her life.
After about a 30-minute lull, the Pixies took the stage. The band looks very unassuming, as the 50-year-old rockers look more like office workers than members of a band. When they began playing, however, it was clear that they were first class.
While all four members of the band are incredibly talented, Joey Santiago on guitar and David Lovering on drums really stole the show. The amount of guitar solos in their discography is stunning, and watching Santiago play was a sight to behold. The two of them also seemed to be having the most fun out of anyone on stage.
Black Francis is no joke as lead singer. Over the course of the bands two-hour set, he switched from screaming vocals to speaking softly through songs effortlessly. His vocals were backed up by Paz Lenchantin on bass whose sheer stage presence was enough to make me cheer every time she would begin a bass riff.
The crowd was something to behold, an odd mixture of everything from people in their 60s to teenagers. The reactions from the crowd were equally as polarizing, with half of the theatre acting like they were having the time of their life and the rest simply nodding along or even sitting down.
The strange environment couldn’t stop the clear intensity of the band, however, every time a new song would begin, you could almost feel the electricity in the room.
While some bands may take breathers between songs to talk to the audience, the Pixies played for almost every single minute of their set. While at some concert you only hear a sample of the artists work, the Pixies played a large amount of their discography live, to the pleasure of their fans.
As the show went on, the energy only seemed to rise within the audience and the band. Everything came to a climax when the band played arguably their most popular song, “Where’s My Mind,” followed by an encore of their song “Debaser”.
While many might not have heard of the Pixies, their talent and influence on the alt-rock scene is clear when seeing them live. They put on a show that I will probably never forget.