Show Review & Photos: The Pixies @ the Paramount

Review by Shana Restall Crick
Photos by Alex Crick

Last night iconoclastic rockers the Pixies created an intense and unforgettable experience for a packed crowd at the Paramount. The show was the first of two performances in Seattle for the band, who are presently on tour to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the release of their highly influential album, Doolittle. The relatively intimate setting of the Paramount allowed for a connection between the band and audience that proved elusive during concerts in 2004 at Bumbershoot and in 2005 at the Sasquatch! Music Festival.

Pixies 03 - Flickr
Frank Black of the Pixies

Rain Machine, the show’s opener, is the side project of TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone. The melancholy character of Rain Machine, while powerful at times, generally resulted in a lethargy that ultimately proved to be an awkward fit for a Pixies show. However, Malone himself stated on several occasions what many in the audience were thinking – let’s get on with this so we can watch the main event!

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Kyp Malone of Rain Machine

As a prelude to the Pixies’ set, Un chien andalou, Luis Buñuel’s 1929 film, was projected behind the stage. The jarring image of Buñuel’s razor slicing through an eyeball – which is echoed in the lyrics to “Debaser” – set the mood for the entire performance. The band opened with “Dancing the Manta Ray” as well fellow B-side selections “Weird at My School,” “Bailey’s Walk,” and “Manta Ray” before dutifully launching into a cover to cover performance of Doolittle. Bassist Kim Deal gleefully noted the progress of the band through the album by pronouncing “not quite through side A” or “chugging through side B.”

The band seemed relatively stoical during the early part of the set, but visibly relaxed as the evening advanced and the background video unquestionably enhanced the visual quality of the performance. Songs were paired with disquieting film clips – “Tame” featured a juxtaposition of skulls and mannequins and “Into the White” came with a frenetic light show that easily would be every epileptic’s nightmare. Arguably the most riveting part of the set was the second encore, which rewarded those who stuck around after the selections from the previously circulated setlist ran out. “Caribou,” “Vamos,” and “Gigantic” showed the Pixies at their best – vibrant and dynamic with just enough tension between band members to keep it interesting.

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Joey Santiago of the Pixies

Prior to the show we had the pleasure of meeting a couple who had driven from Spokane just to see the Pixies. They owned upwards of 20 Pixies bootlegs and had seen the band perform countless times. Their enthusiastic, awed reaction accurately reflected the evening’s events. The intimacy between band and audience, coupled with forcefully dynamic music and disturbing imagery culminated in an eerily compelling experience. It may not have been the Pixies’ most lively show, but it was undoubtedly one of their most memorable.

Spokane Couple
Spokane Couple

Pixies 08 - Flickr

Pixies 07 - Flickr

Pixes at The Paramount - Flickr

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The Pixies

Rain Machine 04 - Flickr

Rain Machine 03 - Flickr

Rain Machine 02 - Flickr

Rain Machine 01 - Flickr
Rain Machine

Pixies Setlist:

“Dancing The Manta Ray”

“Weird at My School”

“Bailey’s Walk”

“Manta Ray”

“Debaser”

“Tame”

“Wave of Mutilation”

“I Bleed”

“Here Comes Your Man”

“Dead”

“Monkey Gone to Heaven”

“Mr. Grieves”

“Crackity Jones”

“La La Love You”

“No. 13 Baby”

“There Goes My Gun”

“Hey”

“Silver”

“Gouge Away”

Encore 1:

“Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)”

“Into the White”

Encore 2:

“Caribou”

“Vamos”

“Gigantic”

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