Show Review: The Pixies


"PIXIES SOLD OUT” read the retro marquee outside the Theatre at the Ace Hotel. I entered the unassuming double doors and couldn’t believe my eyes. Let me start by making one thing clear: The Theatre at the Ace Hotel is incredible. Smack dab in the middle of DTLA, wedged between street vendors selling cheap jewelry, sits this immaculate gothic theatre that was built as a movie palace in the 1920s. With high, mirrored ceilings and intricately ornamented walls, I seriously can’t think of any better place to see the Pixies.

Public Access T.V. kicked off the show with a solid set. The somewhat sparse audience was seated yet attentive, drawn in by the band’s cool, boyish energy and their infectious new wave sound. The foursome exuded the effortless charisma that only a New York rock band can as they played through their well-received 2016 debut Never Enough. Drifting between tones of garage pop and post-punk, their traditional verse-chorus-bridge arrangements made for a catchy, dance inducing show. I would definitely see them again.

The crowd came alive with anticipation following the opener. The theatre quickly filled to capacity as technicians aggressively taped cords to the floor and gave the stage a dramatic makeover. When the Pixies finally emerged, all 1600 of us rose to our feet in a frenzy of excitement and downright giddiness. They came in hot, wasting no time before sailing into “Gouge Away,” the biblically-inspired final track on their most popular album, Doolittle, released in 1989. They had the stage presence of true rock stars: confident and composed, masterfully executing song after song. Surrounded by a smoky haze of lights and mirrors, the Pixies were truly an iconic sight.

Though this show was one of many stops on the Pixies’ Head Carrier Tour, they dedicated nearly a third of the show to Doolittle, playing the majority of the hit album. A handful of songs came from their 2016 album Head Carrier and a slightly smaller handful from their 1987 debut Come On Pilgrim.

Overall, the Pixies killed it. Frontman Black Francis, clad in a suave black suit, showcased his unique vocal talent with his signature unpredictable delivery, shifting from smooth melodies to yowling falsettos in an instant. Bassist Paz Lenchantin, who replaced original band member Kim Deal in 2014, delivered a seamless performance that oozed with edge and confidence.

Looking around I saw that from the floor to the balconies, the audience members, most of whom were at least a decade my senior, were all in. I saw lifelong fans get transported back to the 90s--a better time I am told--and release their inner moshing teen. The Pixies gave the crowd exactly what it wanted and we responded with nonstop energy. At the end of the 30-song set and a hazy encore performance of “Into the White,” the four band members looked genuinely happy as they gave a brief bow before disappearing into a puff of smoke. There was no standing ovation necessary; everyone in the crowd was already on their feet.


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