Pixies Ride a Wave of Mutilation into Toronto
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Pixies Ride a Wave of Mutilation into Toronto

2004_11_25Pixies.jpgIt was a lean, mean and ruthlessly efficient Pixies that opened up a two-night stand at Arrow Hall last night – okay, maybe Frank Black Francis wasn’t quite so lean. A long time coming – more than seven months since the shows were announced and tickets went on sale – the sold-out crowd of 9,000 composed of equal parts present-day indie kids and aged hipsters was pretty damned anxious by the time their heroes finally took the stage just after 9.
What followed was an ultra-condensed career retrospective. Packing 29 songs into an hour-and-a-half set, barely pausing for breath or guitar changes, the Pixies barrelled from one classic song into the next. Performance-wise, they were amazingly tight, though no less than you’d expect from a band that’s been touring hard all over the world since their surprise reunion this past Spring – any reputation they may have gained for live inconsistency during their first go-around a decade ago has most definitely been shed. And while the show was somewhat short, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could find fault with the set list or wasn’t completely satisfied. Almost every song anyone could hope for was there, practically bookended by a “Wave Of Mutilation” double-shot, both slow and fast versions. If there’s a minor complaint, it’s that the band seemed a little stiff and mechanical at the start of the show though they loosened up as things progressed, closing off the main set with a giddy reading of “Gigantic”. The encore was extra loose, with a goofy “La La Love You” followed by an extended noise-jam on “Vamos”. And full marks to whoever was handling sound, as getting as good a mix as they did in a giant airport hangar can’t be an easy task.
The Pixies play the second of the two shows tonight with tickets still available. Based on night one, night two is highly recommended.