Pixies play at Fox theater

Jon Nelson, Reporter
November 30, 2011
Filed under Features

It was all horn-rimmed glasses and skinny jeans as the hippest of the hip welcomed The Pixies to Bakersfield’s Fox Theater.

“I wanted to die the whole time,” said Beth Harrell about the Nov.18 concert.

The Pixies are probably best known for paving the way for ’90s alternative-rock bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and for their underground hit “Where Is My Mind?”

The band originally broke up in 1993, but reunited in 2004. They have been touring on-and-off ever since.

In October 2011, the Pixies began the Doolittle Lost Cities Tour in which they play the entirety of their classic 1989 album “Doolittle” as well as b-sides and rarities from that time and miscellaneous hits.

“We call it the ‘Lost Cities Tour’ because we wanted to go to towns we’ve never been to before,” bassist Kim Deal told the audience.

Supporting act Imaginary Cities was the perfect warm-up band. They played loud music that was perfect background noise for the crowd to chatter and wait for the main act to come out.

The Pixies finally emerged as shadowy figures in front of a giant projection of Salvador Dali’s notorious surrealist film “Un Chien Andalou.”

The band got comfortable and kicked off the show with the b-side “Dancing the Manta Ray.”

After they warmed up with a few of their lesser-known songs, The Pixies were ready to get into “Doolittle.” Watching the crowd combust when they started “Debaser” was worth the price.

The band quickly proved that they still know what they’re doing even after all these years. Singer and guitarist Frank Black’s voice still has the same mental-patient howl that it did 20 years ago. This was more than evident when they performed “Tame.” His sing-to-scream performance was impressive.

Songs like “Hey” and “Wave of Mutilation” came complete with crowd sing-alongs. Screaming in unison with 1,500 people is really awe-inspiring.

After they finished “Doolittle” and a few more songs, the band exited the stage only to come back for two encores.

The best song of the night came during the first encore. The band played the noisy juggernaut “Into the White” and employed an overactive fog machine to fill the Fox Theater with white smoke. At one point, the band was barely visible on stage.

The highlight of the second encore was the Pixies playing a spontaneous and very rough version of “Dig For Fire.”

One of the best things about the concert was the band’s communication with fans. Deal was constantly talking to the audience and asking questions.

She even dedicated the song “La La Love You” to Bakersfield.

“I bet you guys don’t get a lot of people playing through here?” she questioned.

At one point, lead guitarist Joe Santiago was even using his iPhone to take video of the crowd.

The Pixies have done what very few bands can. They’ve weathered breakups as well as the tide of popular opinion and managed to stay relevant. Over 20 years after their formation, they still sound amazing and I can’t wait to see them again.

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