Having split up in the 90s too soon to cash in on the grunge wave they’d inspired, no one begrudged the Pixies a second bite of the cherry when they reformed in 2004. But after milking their old songs for a decade their reputation as alt-rock’s intense pioneers was taking a bit of dip – and the abrupt walkout of iconic bassist Kim Deal just before they finally released some new material cast a gloomy pall over its reception.
Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow ***
Now, however, with Deal’s replacement Paz Lenchantin confirmed as an official band member and last year’s album Head Carrier a more confident production, all that seems to be behind them.
Blasting off with a ferocious Gouge Away, crowd-pleasing Wave Of Mutilation and Mary Chain cover Head On, guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering certainly sounded to be at full force, with Frank Black still howling out those lyrics of passionate frustration as if they were based on fresh wounds. He’s still not one for cheery between-song banter, with no actual recognition of the sold out Bandstand audience. Still, he and his band don’t need to charm, with the crowd connecting not so much to the musicians on stage but to the history they bring with them.
While Lenchantin’s bass is solid, her vocals are a lot wispier than Deal’s, leaving some songs a little underpowered. However it worked well on All I Think About Now, Black’s recent “apology” song to Deal, where she found a simple sweetness that leavened the general all-or-nothing rage.