1952 – Cleveland stakes a claim on Rock history when the Moondog Coronation Ball is held at the Cleveland Arena. Organized by the WJW DJ Alan Freed (“Moondog” on the air), it is widely considered the first Rock concert, with Billy Ward and The Dominoes, Tiny Grimes, and Paul Williams on the bill. The crowd goes over capacity and police shut down the show because of fire code violations after just one song by Williams. The event proves to the music industry that this type of R&B music has widespread appeal.
Tonight, we get a chance to unwrap some highly anticipated new releases. 22, A Million is an ambitious new album from Bon Iver. He’s got his fans and his detractors. We’ll see if we can find some middle ground tonight. Also, for the first time in a long time, Bob Weir has a new solo album. We’ll hear what is sounds like when a member of the Grateful Dead teams up with members of The National and Josh Ritter. Plus, a classic alternative band has a new offering, a much-hyped young British band return with their sophomore effort and we have a new First Impression artist as well …
On Friday, January 24th a stripped down Pixies performed during a sold out Free At Noon. The band, in town playing a sold out show at the Electric Factory, played a nine song set of tunes both old and new, drawing from their two recent EP’s alongside hits like “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” and deeper album tracks like “Nimrod’s Son,” and “Caribou.” Below, listen to the full show and watch their performance of “Here Comes Your Man.”
Watch the Pixies perform “Greens and Blues” from their set here.
Pixies ruled Philadelphia on Friday, selling out both a rare acoustic performance at World Café Live’s Free at Noon and their nighttime Electric Factory show. By the time the band took the stage for their evening reign at 9:45, the crowd was warmed up from the freezing outside after putting their hands together and moshing to Los Angeles-based garage punks Fidlar.
When the revolutionary alt-rockers from Boston unleashed the first chords of “Bone Machine” that gave way to the surging “Debaser,” the night was set for some grand rock memories.
Lead singer and guitarist Black Francis, alongside guitarist Joey Santiago, drummer David Lovering and touring bassist Paz Lenchantin, belted out a nearly 30-song set that covered the expanse of their career. It would be tough to not satisfy most fans with the selection from such classics as “Where is My Mind” and “Wave of Mutilation” as well as their recent works, as represented by songs like “Bagboy” and “Magdalena.”
Backed by an impressive lighting arrangement that involved light reflecting off surfaces in the ceiling and their backdrop of stacks of glass boxes, they were dramatically lit for much of the performance. And the sound was glorious.
It was a stellar set that ultimately, unfortunately, left some wanting. The band said nary a word to an adoring audience that sang along and even crowd-surfed. And after what seemed to be a joyous end to “Nimrod’s Son,” with Santiago having great fun with his guitar and even exchanging his hat with a smiling Lenchantin, the band did not return — despite playing an encore at every other show on the tour, the crowd loudly clapping and calling for more, and the stage seemingly set for a return.
Certainly ruling the soundwaves is hard work and not always satisfying for all. But even though the abrupt ending left a sour taste for some at the end of the night, the rare delicacy of Pixies’ ferocious sound is destined to bring fans back as long as the band deigns to tour.
It’s funny to hear a band sing about missing The Pixies when they’re headlining the Electric Factory in Philadelphia next week. But I get it – local fuzz-pop duo Tender Vision misses more the idea of The Pixies, the creative spark and chemistry that existed in the first run of the band in the late 80s / early 90s. So they’re doing their best to capture it in their own music.
The very new band is made up of Adrianne Gold, former singer/guitarist in Catnaps and bassist William Sallee along with a handful of live collaborators, and in the past week the duo has released two songs. Most recently was the silly and straightforward rocker “I Hate Change,” which came out in a playful video on YouTube yesterday. With a deadpan delivery, Gold sings “Kim, why did you leave me and The Pixies? / Kim, why did you leave me? I miss The Pixies.”
That’s about the entirety of the song’s lyrics, though some sweet “Gigantic”-referencing “ooohs” come in the mix on the bridge. And while it’s kind of an overt nod to Deal, Black, Santiago and Lovering more than a full-fledged song unto itself, it’s nonetheless fun to watch Sallee and Gold bounce around a room to the beat, waving sparklers at the camera and swapping costumes.
A better choice – and more genuinely infused with The Pixies spirit – is “Just Kill Me,” the single Tender Vision released on Bandcamp last week. It’s got airy fuzz guitar lines and a generous helping of JAMC vocal reverb, plus some delightful call and response. There’s a melancholy tone to the lyrics (“Do you still dream that you’re drowning? / Do you dream at all?”) but an uplifting melody and toe-tapping beat carries across a quick minute and 43 seconds.
Listen to “Just Kill Me” and watch the video for “I Hate Change” below, and find out more about Tender Vision at the band’s Facebook page.
After a successful summer run co-headlining alongside Weezer, alt rock icons Pixies will hit the road again in the new year with Rivers Cuomo and company. In the mix, they will also do a one-off Philadelphia gig sans Weezer on Monday, March 18th at The Fillmore Philadelphia.
In case you didn’t get enough of throwbacks with Weezer’s cover of “Africa” (and now Toto’s cover of “Hash Pipe), singer-songwriter Pete Yorn and indie rock favorite Liz Phair have teamed up for a cover of “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies. Their tribute smoothes the creases of the gritty punk original, delivering polished vocals compared to the rough-edged whine of Pixies frontman Black Francis. The main riff retains its vintage scratchiness, but Yorn adds delicate accents in the form of his classic acoustic work and celestial keyboards. Continue reading →
Are you ready for a big rock show announcement this morning? Southern California alt-rock favorites Weezer just announced a summer co-headlining tour with Boston indie trailblazers Pixies, and the tour hits the Philadelphia area on July 21st at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden. Tickets go on sale Friday, November 10th, and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Pixies took the Electric Factory stage Tuesday night to an obscure B-side: The Beatles’ “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number).” Formalities dispensed, without introductions or interim chatter they vaulted into a virtual medley of some 30-odd songs, an exhaustive sampler representing each era of a three-decade career.
Singer Black Francis and company shared the majority of their latest record, last year’s Head Carrier, and juxtaposed many of their more prominent singles with some favorite “deep cuts” as well. “Debaser,” “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and “Wave Of Mutilation” were offered side-by-side with Doolittle counterparts “No. 13 Baby,” “Mr. Grieves” and “Hey.” Continue reading →