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October 18, 2017

Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO


Not every artist is fully appreciated during their time. Greats such as Van Gogh, Dickinson, and Poe languished in relative obscurity whilst crafting gorgeous works of art that would go on to be widely lauded, albeit posthumously. Then again, plenty of prodigies hit their stride both commercially and artistically concurrently and are afforded the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor at the apex of their popularity. Then there are The Pixies.


The seminal college rock band from Boston, Mass fall into the liminal space between these two distinctions. They toiled for years in dive bars and small rock clubs from coast to coast and even bubbled up to the surface in classic videos on outlets like MTV’s 120 Minutes. However, they did not reach the tier of indie legends until a crop of 90s bands emerged, singing their praises and acknowledging the influence of the Pixies on the art form. Ironically, their admiration in the mainstream peaked just as their original run was drawing to a close. After years of side projects and hiatuses, Black Francis (or Frank Black, depending on who you ask and when) got the band back together in 2004 for touring and recording purposes. Their latest cross-country trek brought them through the Rocky Mountains and landed them a headlining gig at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium on October 18. The original lineup was in tow, save for former A Perfect Circle bassist Paz Lenchantin having replaced Kim Deal following her departure a few years ago. The crew was as tight a unit as always, ripping through the quietly-thumping “Gouge Away” and the melancholic melody of “Here Comes Your Man.” Crowd pleasers “Where is My Mind” and “Wave of Mutilation, along with personal favorite “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” delighted the hundreds gathered in attendance this particular evening.

A short intermission bled into an encore set featuring the blistering “Debaser” and “Bone Machine,” which showcases the inimitable loud-quiet-loud musical dynamic for which The Pixies are known and emulated throughout the alt rock world. Lead guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering joined Francis and Lenchantin for a grande bow to close out the show, which was greeted by raucous applause from a jubilant audience. Unlike some artistic greats of the past, The Pixies are recognized during the second stage of their careers for their monumental contributions and will continue to shape future musicians who seek to walk in their enormous footsteps.


Article by: Steve Lustig

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