It's been a while but we're back in full force for the next couple of weeks and tonight, the 19th edition of the Jay Porks Never ending concert series brings us to Hammerstein Ballroom 311 West 34th street, or as the outside of the building indicates: The Manhattan Center. Tonight we are here to see the one, the only The PIXIES, who on tour celebrating their 20th anniversary of the release of their major label debut 'Doolittle'. The Pixies are a phenomenon of proportions which I thought had passed me by already, broken up for over a decade, who would've thought the opportunity to see them would present itself, and yet so timely-Last show I went to was the Breeders just days after this tour was announced in August. Three NYC dates were announced, Novemeber 23th, 24th and 25th, taking a look at my concert calendar, the Tuesday night, middle show is where we land (Meat Puppets @ Bowery tomorrow night)-$50 any of the nights with no opening acts listed. Who could NOT be there? Doors open 6:30, show at 8pm.
Was twenty minutes after seven when I stepped out of a cab, on a rather chilly NYC late afternoon turning into night-I stand in front of a movie theater across the street from the venue which is flooded with a mob scene in front of movers and shakers, people headed in headed out, event staff making life a little harder for everyone-the norm. I take it all in, get my stuff together(camera and notepad out of the back pack and into the pockets) and head across the street and step on up to the door where the event staff asks me “Sir, do you have a cigarette lighter on you?” Myself, somehow overcome with a sudden honest Abe demeanor, replies “yes I do” as proceeding to hand my lighter over to be thrown in the garbage. I don't care that the dude threw it away, its his job-but why would I say that I had one? It had a flashlight on it too. Damn. Anyway, continuing in I found the merch table and beer. Get a $7 beer(and then they put it in a fucking dixie cup whats up with that??), and start pondering on what I'm gonna spend my money on at the merch table. There was a few $35 and $40 tee shirts to choose from. I was settled on the shirt that has these tour dates on them-but then I saw a hoodie. I asked if the XL would fit me and I took a look at it. It's cool its brown and it has a 'P' on it, that $60 is feeling snug as I change and check my bag. This hoodie is kinda tight-but I'm still loving it.
One odd thing about the merch table is that I notice they were also selling “Jay Reatard” stuff. Then all of a sudden I hear a band sound checking at like 7:40. Walk in and I see three dudes on stage. The lead singer and guitar player (playing of those flying V's, cheesy) has long hair in front of his face, the bass player looks bored out of his mind and the drummer smiles a lot. At about 8 o clock when I realized that the Pixies were obviously not coming on stage at 8-I turn to somebody next to me, and I ask because I need to be 100 percent sure, I'm like “Who the hell are these guys?” and it was in fact, Jay Reatard. I mean, I tried to sit there and listen to it but it's a tough spot to be in being the surprise opener for the Pixies, I just looked at the ceiling pissed every time they started another song. Soul reason being that they weren't the Pixies, myself and I bet a few others who have never heard of him before didn't really give them a chance. They didn't suck, they did some things that were interesting...sort of. They played til about 840, then the roadies tore down the set and prompted it for the one, the only, Black, Deal, Santiago and Lovering-The Pixies!
A video screen type backround the stage has, began to roll before 9:10 showing a video. The clip is “Un chien andalou” in its entirety. I know, I know-What the hell is that you're asking. It's a surrealist film from France -short about 15 minutes long and it came out in like the 1920's. The first scene is an eyeball being sliced open, hence the lyric from the song “Debaser”, when Frank Black says “Slicin' up eyeballs I want you to know”. I looked it up a few months ago and was fascinated by the deep underlying of the song. And I'm not the only one who knew what I was, in fact I was probably more out of the loop then most people as I heard it being explained to others around me by each other. A shrieking simultaneous gasp through the crowd when the eyeball gets sliced open(the same people who have watch every version of SAW to ever come out) and I gotta tell you-though spacious, where I was standing was a tight squeeze and I wasn't even that close. The tall people in front of me were pissing me off, don't they know I have video to take? And this is in the wake of people bloggers saying the monday night show was over sold and that Livenation should be ashamed of themselves. I didn't think it was “over sold”, just tight up at the front not to mention very hard for me to navigate my hand held camera device, I got some really crappy video but the sound is awesome. They came out eventually and Kim Deal screams out “B-Sides!” right before they kick off the night with “Dancing the Manta Ray”, “Bailey's Walk” and “Weird at my school”. The way Joe Santiago and Frank Black sort of trade explosions of noise with every chord-the way the sound meshes is brilliant. Music is so much better live. The harmonies Deal and Black kicked out on every track was, if not better, than equal to the swiftness it was 20 years ago and on some songs you get Deal's voice in the same exact key as Joe's guitar combining the two elements to one. They did “Manta Ray” (not to be confused with “Dancing the Manta Ray”) before they kicked off the album part of the set with “Debaser” and proceeded to rock that shit out, Doolittle in listed order. “tame” came next-these songs were almost obnoxiously loud and we were loving every second of it. “Wave of Mutilation”, “I bleed”, “Here comes your man” followed with jokes in between songs by Deal-like when she said “Anyone here last night?.....Yea, we're doin the same thing” and she kept saying “We're almost through side one”. It got nuttier in there when “Dead” came on-the jagged guitars stabbing through all attending and Lovering and Deal pounding out rhythms. “Monkey's gone to heaven” was cool”, and I love “Mr. Grieves” and “Crackity Jones” so I'm glad I got video of those two back to back. “La La Love you” was fun, the only song where drummer David Lovering sings lead vocals. Then we got into the extended version of “No. 13 baby”, that one went long it was so awesome. We took a trip far away from that song with the melding of noise between guitars, like the aforementioned of trading explosions. Finishing out the set was the rest of the record, “There goes my gun” followed by a crowd sing along “Hey” (words from the song scrolled on the screen in the back ground), “Sliver” and “Gouge Away” before they pretended to say goodnight. They took a bow and went off with the screen showing a picture of the four of them together. This was freaking incredible- I mean I wouldn't blame them if they didn't come back out.
But they did as Kim Deal screamed “More B-sides!”, as they played the UK Surf version of “Wave of Mutilation” and “Ed is Dead” before the smog machine starts to really fill the place and we get into “Into the White”. At this time the screen had a visual that was hypnotic-strobe light effect along with the smoke clouds on the lights I swear it was an epileptic seizure. It was insanity, I was floored after into the white-what a moment. Then they went off again only to come back out to play, and correct me if I missed one in the midst of taking in all this, “Caribou”-which was very, like, make the crowd lean in sync like trees in a forest when the wind blows. “Broken face” and “Plant of Sound” to end the night-and someone needs to hit me up and let me know which one I missed because I know there's one that I'm leaving out, I didn't have enough room to take notes.
Overall it was so worth it. I'm so glad I got to experience that at least once before I die. They were on my list of bands I must see before I die. Check. Right now cutting up the video into pictures the songs are bringing me back to the moment as I listen-it's really cool. It was an amazing show, from the instrumentation to the light show to the vocals to the songs to the atmosphere. It all melded into a unique beauty-just seeing that fog as the drum beat to “Into the white”. Just indescribable.
Now in a few hours I'll be back here to tell you people how the Meat Puppets Wednesday November 25th show at the Bowery-there's already a autographed poster waiting for me!