The Pixies by Leslie Kalohi

Live Review & Photos: The Pixies and Royal Blood at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay, September 27, 2014

The Pixies by Leslie Kalohi
Photos by Leslie Kalohi

In continuing support of the group’s newest album in over twenty years, Indie Cindy, the Pixies began their latest U.S. tour at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay.

It was uncertain how the small, seated crowd would respond to the famed surf-punk band and vice versa; the venue seemed too formal for the Pixies’ raucous nature. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for people to stand up and out of their seats once the show started. Fans danced and sang along, getting as rowdy as one could with security guards keeping everyone in check. It was refreshing to see an audience truly engaged in a show.

The Pixies barely paused during their 90-minute set, barreling through song after song. The audience’s response took off during a triple-threat of “Bone Machine,” “Wave of Mutilation,” and “U-Mass.” The many sweet pockets of familiar hits like “Here Comes Your Man” and “Debaser” proved to be some of the night’s most successful moments.

The new songs from Indie Cindy definitely benefited from being performed in a live setting, nestled strategically next to beloved classics like “Gouge Away” and “Nimrod’s Son.” “Bagboy” and “Magdalena” were shining examples of album cuts that sound too polished and leisurely on record, but in concert picked up speed and urgency for a dramatic effect.

Stepping in for Kim Deal is a daunting task, but current touring bassist Paz Lenchantin definitely excelled. A huge grin permanently affixed on her face, Lenchantin appeared to be having the best time of her life.

As the night when on, drummer Dave Lovering got to shine with vocals during “La La Love You,” while Joey Santiago let loose during main set closer “Vamos,” even using one of Lovering’s drumsticks to play his guitar.

The Pixies didn’t technically leave the stage before the encore, instead milling about as a few excited fans rushed to the front to fist bump Black Francis. After that, security no longer had any authority over the crowd. The encore of “Where Is My Mind?” inspired a free-for-all with seats finally abandoned. That bit of controlled chaos at the end served as the best summation of the entire evening.

Brighton, UK’s much buzzed about Royal Blood impressed early arrivals to the venue — the duo’s opening set culminated in a much-deserved standing ovation. Comprised only of bassist/vocalist Michael Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, the pair turned in an incredibly dynamic hard-rock set. Royal Blood are musically more in tune with the boldness of Queens of the Stone Age, although subtle, bluesy elements (à la The White Stripes or Black Keys) can be heard. It was amazing to hear how much richly textured sound could be produced by just two people.

Photos: The Pixies at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay

Photos: Royal Blood at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay

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