The Pixies are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their third — and possibly their best-selling — album, Doolittle, with a tour that’s hit Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and now 11 cities in the states. In a musical epoch that’s rapidly advancing toward electronic noise and auto-tuned voices, The Pixies’ comeback tour has never been so welcomed.
Both honeyed and abrasive, The Pixies’ sound has lost nothing with age. The band materialized on the mid-1980s indie, grunge, alternative rock scene with bizarre, surrealist lyrics. Accompanying the band members — Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering — on stage are surreal videos acting as a backdrop for each song. Their songs are played within quick succession of each other — somewhat like a recording, but with quips from Kim Deal, the most personable band member from stage.
The demographic for the shows have, at least at the Kansas City Uptown venue, proven to be confusing. With their age and influence, everyone from indie teens to adult punks to suburban housewives were in the pit at The Uptown, trying to cope with the multitude of other concert-going personalities — moshers, dancers, standers, singers and swayers.
Although many appreciate The Pixies for their rough rock sound, they’re touring with the British electronic duo, Fuck Buttons. In the right environment, Fuck Buttons and their explosive sound and light show would be highly appreciated. However, it felt more like a visual and aural assault in terms of what the crowd was expecting.
Above all else, Doolittle is a greatest hits tour. The tickets are pricy, and complete with merchandise and on-the-spot recordings of every show available for purchase afterward. Despite allegations that the band is in it just for the money, they put on a damn good show. They played the songs everyone knows, loves and probably has a significant memory for. They did two encores and left the stage with the audience begging for a third. Rather than an ode to the album, the tour is more a celebration of a band’s success, and an unmatched style of music.