In the late 80s there was an echo of punk that came to be grunge. Nirvana and Pearl Jam came out of Seattle and the Pixies came out of Boston. Like 70s punk with its intellectual anger, these bands spat loud about the question "why?" or rather "WHY????". Of them all, the Pixies were the most surreal but also presbyterian. At one and the same time the world is not as it is and not as it ought to be.
I know them only through their most popular record Doolittle but I knew a part of my younger life would be renewed by hearing Frank Black scream "and if the Devil is six, then God is seven, God is seven". I was right.
Some admissions. We sat at the back, my older brothers and I. I wore ear plugs. We left a little early to beat the rush. These were the accomodations of the years and I was not about to go through five days of ear ringing like I dealt with after last year's Sloan concert. Plus, given the hockey rink setting, the concrete floor and the metal ceiling, it was all distortion falling over itself. Probably the worst venue for a band I have ever been at. The opening acts - one whose name we didn't even bother catching as well as a quite respectable The Darkness-esque (with out the irony) called The Datsuns - did not get the idea of controlling the wall of sound to meet the venue. They were just loud. The Pixies were loud, too, but sometimes at moments not loud.
It was at first something of a wait for their hits "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven", "Debaser" and "Here Comes your Man" [6.9 MB 19 second short] - perhaps waiting most of all for the spectacle of a throat ripping yell from Frank Black (not nee but was Black Francis). But I was struck by the sharp needling guitar of Joey Santiago and the pounding red-hot bass of chain-smoking Kim Deal.
They were very tight and discomforting. Here are some murky photos from the show, including one of the incredibly busy beer vendors right in front of us.