A Night with the Pixies: Punk Vibes and a Supermoon Glow
By Zoe Blakeman – Photos by Steve Sym
This past Wednesday, The Pixies took the stage at the Salt Shed, bringing the summer to an end and welcoming the fall with open arms. Uniquely, the performance unfolded outdoors, an unprecedented setting for me at the Salt Shed. The breeze carried a faint chill, harmonizing flawlessly with the backdrop of the radiant blue supermoon that illuminated the stage. There were two openers for the show, Cat Powers and Modest Mouse, which set the mood for a great night filled with energetic rock and an atmosphere teeming with positive vibrations.
While we got a mix of old and new songs, the band emerged onto the stage launching into their opening number, “Gouge.” The lights lit up in a vibrant green catching the eye of everyone anxiously waiting for the jams to start. With the onset of the lead guitar’s entrance, a resonant and heavily distorted riff reverberated throughout, instantly recognized by the audience like the backs of their hands.
The song maintained a delicate balance intertwining mellower vocal passages with impassioned roars, and mixing gentle guitar interludes with searing, ear-piercing riffs that resonated with the song’s essence. The end of the song met with an eruption of cheers from the audience which segued into the second song, “Wave Of Mutilation.” Bathed in alternating flashes of crimson and white, the lead singer held a mustard-yellow guitar, casting an entrancing visual interplay between the pulsating lights and the instrument’s hue.
The very first riff of “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” reverberated through the stage with an undeniable force, shaking the very foundation. The crowd lit up and screamed the familiar words almost so loud that you couldn’t hear the singer. The female bassist assisted on vocals during this song which brought in a new layer of feelings to the intense emotion in the space. The space seemed to pulse with explosive volume with the screaming and dancing seen all across the show.
The moment arrived when Black Francis, the lead singer, intoned the words “If man is five…then the devil is six…Then God is seven,” a tidal wave of sound engulfed the stage. His passionate screams, coupled with the searing surge of the guitar’s electrifying chords, conjured an ambiance of unparalleled intensity.
Francis whispered a gentle “hey,” into the microphone, an utterance that resonated deep within the hearts of all present, signaling the onset of their signature anthem, “Hey.” With just one word, and no other sounds or instruments, the whole city knew this song. It’s an incredible testament to the power of a single word, capable of uniting countless individuals in a single, exceptional moment. Blue and purple lights opened the mellow intro and flowed into the intense chorus of sharp-tinged guitar riffs and dim drumming to keep the beat steady yet increasing.
The haunting strains of “There’s A Moon On,” a track from their latest album “Doggerel,” painted a new and eerie atmosphere onto the stage, although its lyrics remained less known to the crowd. It perfectly accommodated the full blue supermoon lingering behind the stage. This was truly a moment like no other where the music, time, and planets literally aligned during this song. Different shades of blue and purple lights flickered across the stage matching every ominous note spilling out of the bass guitar, creating an eerie yet captivating spectacle.
Lastly, “Where Is My Mind?” shot through the crowd making everyone’s eyes glow under the moonlight. The moment Francis spoke, “Stop,” and the soft acoustic guitar strumming began, the crowd knew we were entering something special and timeless. Yellow and white soft lights encased the whole venue trapping everyone in the warm and complex riff of the lead guitar demanding attention.
Everyone took videos during the first half of the song, but for the second half, we all lived in the moment watching magic unfold right in front of our eyes. “Where Is My Mind,” was sung by every single person in that crowd. Not one person was silent in this riveting moment allowing for the beauty to truly sink in.
The Pixies have such a unique sound that cannot be replicated. The show was punk, loud, energetic, infectious, and remarkable on all parts. The lights matched the mood, the vocals encompassed so many emotions and eras of time, while the guitar riffs dug deep into anyone’s soul reminding them of what rock and roll truly is.
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Photos © 2023 by: Steve Sym
Photos © 2023 by: Steve Sym