Pixies Show They’ve Still Got It at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre

The Pixies.
Pixies from Boston, MA.

The Pixies have been together since 1986 and have seen multiple lineups since their first incarnation and debut album Come On Pilgrim. After some in-fighting and creative differences between original members and main songwriters Black Francis and Kim Deal, the group broke up in 1993. Through all of this, the band had developed a religious following of fans and admirers who longed for a Pixies reunion, which did happen in 2004.

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I was curious to see what an alternative band of their stature would look and sound like 25 years later and the answer is simple: they sound fantastic. Time has taken its toll on the group.  Yes they’re a little balder, a little grayer, and a little heavier but their sound is as sharp as ever.

Opening their Chicago show at The Riviera Theatre on February 9th with “Bone Machine”, the group immediately set the bar high with a tremendous amount of distortion and feedback while lead singer Black Francis cooed falsettos over a mountain of drums and bass. With literally no stage banter between songs, the Pixies packed 32 songs into an hour and 45 minute set which had the sold out crowd cheering throughout the evening. Pulling material from landmark albums such as Doolittle and Surfer Rosa, the group mixed favorites like “Gouge Away” and “Where Is My Mind” in with the band’s newest releases, EP1 and EP2, and first new music in over 10 years, like “Indie Cindy” and “What Goes Boom”.

Newcomer to the group, Paz Lenchantin, handled departed bassist Kim Deal’s vocals with a polished style and grace that complimented Francis’ dark lyrics about extraterrestrials, love in vein, and a number of other assorted odd lines. The Pixies displayed the raw power and nerve that has served them so well over nearly three decades together and it was all on display at their Riviera show. Go see these guys if you get the chance.

Listen to Indie Cuts with your host Brandan Taylor every Monday night 9 to 11pm on WCRX, Chicago’s Underground and WCRXFM.com.

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