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Archive for the ‘Black Francis’ Category

[ATTENDED: July 20, 2018] Pixies

I saw Pixies back in September 2017.  It was the first time I’d seen them in almost 30 years.  And they were fantastic.  They played 34 songs, nearly everything I wanted to hear.  I say nearly because they have not been playing any Kim Deal-sung songs.  Which is fair.  New bassist Paz Lenchantin played great (she’s a fantastic bassist) and sang enough like Kim (with her own unique spin of course) that her backing vocals were perfect.

So I assumed I’d never need to see them again.

Then it was announced that in a most improbable double bill, Weezer and Pixies would tour together.   I had seen Weezer a while back but came away disappointed with the show.  Not because of the band, but because of where I was and what I couldn’t see.  I also knew that there was at least one Pixies song that I wanted to hear (“Debaser”).  So I figured if I could get good seats for this show, I would go.

And I did.  Row G!

Pixies came out, the sun had not yet set, and just like last time, they said not a word and just launched into a blistering set of twenty-two songs.  Not bad at all for an opening (and therefore shorter) slot. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 23, 2017] Pixies

I saw the Pixies live at Giants Stadium in 1989.  They opened for The Cure and played a rollicking set.

I was a huge fan of their original albums and I’ve enjoyed The Breeders and Frank Black’s solo stuff to varying degrees.  I was intrigued when they reunited, but I wasn’t super psyched about it.  I didn’t really love the new songs they released–they were all fine, but I figured either I was past them or they had changed enough to make their new stuff less dramatic.

But when I saw that they were playing at the Stone Pony Summer Stage (the day after Autumn officially began), I thought I might like to go.  The face value  of the tickets was $37, which wasn’t too bad, but somehow after Ticketmaster got involved, the total was $59, which was way too much.  We were near Asbury Park during the summer and I stopped by the Stone Pony to buy a ticket at the box office.  But they were closed! (Closed Tuesdays, apparently).

It turned out that day of the show tickets went up to $52 (!).  Well, I was on the fence, and then while I was trying to find out what time the opening band went on (no official word except that gates opened at 5:30), I came across a ticket for sale on Stubhub for $20.  I’d never bought anything on Stubhub before, because I’d always heard the prices were crazy expensive.  Well, including fees, these tickets were less than face value.  Which is pretty awesome.  And I was all set.

For many people, the dealbreaker (ha) for this show was that original bassist Kim Deal as no longer in the band.  I had heard new bassist Paz Lenchantin and thought she sounded enough like Kim (especially in an outdoor venue) that it wouldn’t be all that noticeable that Kim wasn’t there.  What I didn’t realize and which I respect even if it meant that we lost out, was that they didn’t play any songs that Kim sang lead on.  Paz did all of the backing vocals and sang lead on the one song she sings on the newest album and the encore, but that was it. (more…)

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laurenSOUNDTRACK: PIXIES-“Bagboy” (2013).

pixies-bagboyThe first Pixies song in nine years…doesn’t feature Kim Deal on it.  Which is kind of a shame.  She was with them for a lot of the recent tours, but she went back to the Breeders recently.  I assume that everyone else from the lineup is still in the band.

But the real question is what does the song sound like?  Well, to me it doesn’t sound like the Pixies.  It sounds very much like a 90s song, but by… some other bands of the time.  Even Frank Black’s (or is it Black Francis’) voice sounds different—less brittle (despite the brittleness of what he is saying).

The song begins with keyboards and a kind of dance (electronic) drum sound.  I actually thought I clicked the wrong link when it started.  There’s chanted backing vocals while Black is singing/talking.  It all sounds very familiar but not like the Pixies.  Even the guitars sound different–less bright with a bit more flash in the solos.

The part that does sound like the Pixies is the chorus which has soaring guitars and a female singer (unknown to me at this point but she sounds a lot like Deal) singing “bagboy” while Black shouts the same.  The chorus is a comforting reminder of the Pixies’ sound.

I understand that in nine years (and countless Frank Black albums) the Pixies are going to sound different.  And while the tone is definitely Pixies, something is missing from the track, which I hope the rest of the album (should there be one) replaces.

[READ: June 28, 2013] Someday, Someday Maybe

I’ve been a fan of Lauren Graham the actress since I had a major (age appropriate) crush on her during The Gilmore Girls.  I haven’t seen everything she’s been in, but I also enjoy Parenthood quite a bit and initially tuned in because of her.  And now she’s written a book.

This book is pretty far from my usual thing (and in an interview on Huffington Post she says she doesn’t think many men will read the book).  I gather they won’t but I’m glad I did.

Set in 19995, Graham creates a wonderfully flawed character in Franny, a struggling actress who has moved to New York City and has given herself three years to become successful.  At the end of the three years, if she hasn’t made it, she’ll move back to Chicago to be with her long-term boyfriend, Clark.

She lives in Brooklyn with her best friend who is also in the business but as a production assistant (it’s nice to have them not be fighting for the same jobs).  They recently added a new roommate Dan, a writer who seems oblivious to the women (he is so focused on his screenplay that he doesn’t even seem to notice them watching TV).  It seemed apparent from the get go that there was going to be a romantic interest there.  And there was.

But first we get to see Franny’s trials and tribulations starting two and a half months until her deadline.  She’s still taking acting classes, and while she hasn’t gotten offered anything yet, she seems to be well-regarded in class.  And, she has the big showcase coming up—the performance when agents come to watch them do their thing.

And then, hurrah! (more…)

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