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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

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In Music Reviews

The Pixies Black Francis aka Frank Black aka Charles Thompson. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

In Music Reviews

Lead guitarist Joey Santiago. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

In Music Reviews

Bass player Kim Deal played emcee for the night. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

In Music Reviews

Drummer David Lovering. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

In Music Reviews

The show's staging felt not unlike the Pixies themselves: minimalist yet theatrical, gritty yet seasoned. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

In Music Reviews

Before the live rendition of "Doolittle" began in earnest, the Pixies treated the audience to some B-sides. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

In Music Reviews

It's hard to believe "Doolittle" was released in 1989. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

In Music Reviews

The Eagles Ballroom was packed Saturday night. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

In Music Reviews

Imaginary Cities opened the show. (PHOTO: John Schulze )

Pixies faithfully recreate "Doolittle," more


When you hear that a band is coming to town to perform all its songs from one, specific album, you might think, "Meh. Boring. I'll save the $35 and listen to the CD I've listened to a couple thousand times." But when that band is the Pixies, the album is "Doolittle" and the set list exactly mirrors the album, you might think, "That show would be amazing." And you'd be right.

The Pixies played a packed show at the Eagles Ballroom Saturday night that, with two encores, gave serious fans their fill.

The first track on Doolittle is "Debaser," which references the silent, surrealist short film "Un Chien Andalou," produced in France by the Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí. So, it's only fitting that the film rolled on a giant screen in the minutes before the band took to the stage.

Before the live rendition of "Doolittle" began in earnest, the Pixies treated the audience to some B-sides, including "Dance the Manta Ray, "Weird at my School," "Bailey's Walk" and "Manta Ray." Bassist Kim Deal joked that some of the B-sides are so obscure that the band had to practice them before rolling them out for this tour.

The show's staging felt not unlike the Pixies themselves: minimalist yet theatrical, gritty yet seasoned. Four enormous white spheres resembling Japanese paper-lanterns hung above the four band members and took on lighting to fit each song's vibe. As advertised, the set list stayed true to the 1989 album:

Debaser
Tame
Wave of Mutilation
I Bleed
Here Comes Your Man
Dead
Monkey Gone to Heaven
Mr. Greives
Crackity Jones
La La Love You
No. 13 Baby
There Goes My Gun
Hey
Silver
Gouge Away

After "I Bleed," Deal noted that the show was "about halfway through the first side," as the video screen behind the band displayed the vinyl version of the album on a turntable. Later, she pointed out that "Dead" marked "the last song of the first side." (This reviewer cannot verify as she had the album on cassette, which melted in her car in 1990.)

Around that time in the show, Deal also endeared herself to Milwaukeeans by proclaiming, "You have a pretty city."

The published set list indicated the Pixies would serve-up the slow version of "Wave of Mutilation" and "Into the White" as encores. That they did, and, in a further departure from Doolittle, the Pixies gifted the audience with about half-dozen more songs, including "Caribou," "Bone Machine" and "Where is my Mind?" The true encore came in the way of crowd-favorite and 1988 single "Gigantic."

But perhaps Black Francis (aka Charles Thompson, aka Frank Black) has grown weary of the limelight. Lead guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering split the tour's press duties, serving as the only interview subjects offered up by the band's publicist. And Deal wrapped up her role as the de facto emcee of the show with two final quips as the guitar riffs of Gigantic bounced around the Eagles Ballroom.

"Break it down," she said with a laugh to Santiago. "It took us 22 years, but we finally learned how to break it down."


Talkbacks

tdh | April 26, 2011 at 1:38 p.m. (report)

the show was great and the sound wasnt bad unless you were in back where the sound bounces off the plaster walls. Why doesn't the eagles club put felt sheeting on the walls? It would improve acoustics and give a venue a cool look.

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Bunderscore | April 25, 2011 at 8:46 a.m. (report)

great review! I thought the show was fantastic, as lousy as the venue is, I thought the Pixies sounded great. Can Onmilwaukee make a push to get the price of beers down to something reasonable - like $6.00? That'd be great.

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414MusicLove | April 24, 2011 at 3:47 p.m. (report)

Anyone know if the photographer John Schulze has a website w/ more of his work + contact info? I'd be interested in seeing more. Thnx.

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gregrnel | April 24, 2011 at 12:27 p.m. (report)

Eagles Ballroom, Pixies sounded like they were playing in a cave, each song nearly indiscernible, are you sure it was Doliittle?. They should burn this venue.

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Milly | April 24, 2011 at 10:54 a.m. (report)

Nice review. 20 years ago, I thought I had burned out on "Dolittle" for life, but hearing it live, last night reminded me otherwise. It's back on the "if stuck on a desert island" list of albums.

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