TVD Live Shots: The Pixies at the O2 Academy Leeds, 9/17

They’ve influenced an entire generation, created an iconic signature sound, and nearly forty years later they still have plenty to say. The Pixies are seemingly more popular today than they were at their peak in the late ’80s early ’90s, especially here in the UK as it’s near impossible to land a ticket to one of their gigs across the country. I found myself on assignment for my day gig with an evening free in the Northern UK. The O2 Academy Leeds is one of the highest-rated venues in all of the UK so what better chance to check it out than to see the Pixies. 

 Touring in support of their seventh studio record, Beneath the Eyrie was recorded in an abandoned church near Woodstock, NY with producer Tom Dalgety. What in the hell is an eyrie? Yeah, I had to look that one up as well. According to Dictionary.com, it’s “a high or inaccessible place from which someone can observe what is below them.”

There’s no doubt that the atmosphere contributed to the darkness of this record. Some say it’s a return to form and that Black Frances finally caught lightning in a bottle once more after mediocre reviews for the past two records. I think the band is just pissed off and made a record fuelled with the current bad dream we all hope to wake up from. Either way, Eyrie is undoubtedly worthy of taking its place alongside the greatness and mystique of the first two albums.  

Having not seen the band since an Oakland gig a few years back, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Black Frances and company tore through thirty-eight songs that night—yeah, that’s no typo—THIRTY-EIGHT SONGS which included every song from the new record. How many bands can pull that off, or even have the audacity to try without pissing off the crowd beyond two or three new songs and then leaning heavily on their back catalogue? No one.

Throw in ten songs from their masterpiece Doolittle and the heavy hitters from the others, and you have a barnburner of a show. There’s no dialogue in between, but then again there’s really no time for small talk. The band is tight, sharp, and on a tear right now so if you can make it out to one of these shows (good luck as the entire tour seems to be sold out) get on it.

I’d also like to say how impressed I was with the crowd from Leeds. This was another level from the shows I saw back in the States. The fans were losing their minds the entire evening and singing along with almost every song. Plus, the UK press is always so clever with their quotes, and I’ll share my favorite so far. This one from DIY Mag as they nailed it: “They’re back. They’re still brilliant. God save the Pixies.” 

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