Well, we ditched the baby (Ditched! We left the baby in the capable hands of her maternal grandmother) and headed all the way to the southern tip of the Victoria Line in order to watch The Pixies – one of the best bands in the world – perform, from start to finish, Doolittle – one of the best albums in the world.
This is a little like being offered the opportunity to hear Jesus doing some of his greatest parables live. Only better, because The Pixies are real and not a sort of amalgam of various chancers hanging around Roman-occupied Judea claiming to be the Messiah. Well, enough blasphemy (It’s only blasphemous if you believe it all anyway), what about the gig?
Man alive, they can make some noise. But it’s not just noise-noise. It’s the songs. The songs I love so much, there they were, top volume, slightly raw but note and pitch perfect. Everyone in that band can play/sing the shit out of those songs and they gave us a beautiful rendition of the album (and some B-sides which no-one knew except proper nerds), seemingly without even trying.
Sure, you’d probably get Wave of Mutilation, Monkey Gone to Heaven (I fucked my voice yelling “THEN GOD IS SEVEN!”) and Debaser at any Pixies gig. But would you get Mr Grieves? There Goes My Gun? Dead? I Bleed? Not that it matters, they’re all great (although I felt a pang of disappointment that Silver comes after Hey, such an anticlimax to the album. Turns out I’d forgotten Gouge Away (how??), so that buoyed me up to keep clapping for the encore).
Oh, yes, encores. More B-sides, but good ones. Wave of Mutilation UK Surf, Into The White… ending with the a white-out on stage which cloaked the band, clearing to reveal an empty stage. A good end, but not good enough for the Pixies, who strolled back out a second time and, with Kim acknowledging “We’re not supposed to be playing these!”, took the roof off with Bone Machine, U-Mass and Gigantic. A crowd large enough to fill the Brixton Academy to bursting point chanting “A BIG BIG LOVE!” was practically a religious experience for me. I hope the band enjoyed it a little too.