Kiss Me Cock!

Photo by Rich KanePIXIES SECRET SHOW
GLASS HOUSE, POMONA
FRIDAY, APRIL 30

Aw, Pixies, you came back with all the grace of an ex-girlfriend slumming for dry-spell sex till she can trade up to something better, but we still love you: you were the first to make us masochists, with that sandpaper guitar to rub us raw and those pretty big choruses to kiss it better, and secretly, we're glad you weren't too gentle. The Glass House show was the cloak-and-dagger set that had to happen, but how could you sleaze in? You know Steve Albini (so that's who that chin was!); know openers Moving Units; or know Mariko Jones, who plucked tickets out of cigarette smoke and handed 'em off to the kids like care packages at a POW camp—Mariko, we could have used these 50 words to talk about the Pixies, but you deserve them instead. And then the guy behind us asks, "So, who is this band?" Huh? "I've never heard of the Pixies." Huh? "Someone just gave me these tickets." Huh? If you can figure out how to put your pants on right-side out, you pretty much have no reasonable excuse to have entered adulthood sans Pixies, and at the rabid-fan secret show? Fuck, pal, you go to funerals just to see the flowers, too? "Bone Machine" blew him up—there was so much screaming we couldn't tell if it was Frank Black or just 10 years of pent-up primal yearning—and then bang-bang-bang, here comes your songs. Frank stopped "Gigantic" to hem and haw about his solo, then tapped out lots-harder guitar parts without even looking for the rest of the set; "Tame" was rawer than any record, but it rippled in and out when Kim Deal and Frank started that panting part in the middle; "In Heaven" had a creepy dial-tone cool that sounded perfect over AM radio fuzz. Kim had her chin dug against her chest, staring hard and woozy-eyed at each fret change—you've driven home drunk with the same exact facial expression, we know it. The finale was "Where Is My Mind?": people wanted to hear that so bad every nipple in the room popped as one on the first two chords. But Frank Black hates little children and everything they hold dear, so the Pixies walked out their big posthumous hit like a concussed runway model, sashaying slowly through every drum beat and fucking up the cadence on the chorus; we sang along like we were chasing a teleprompter. They ended with a few loopy waves goodbye, except . . . then the techs came out, tuned up Kim's fat red Fender, snapped off a couple of beats on the drums and darted purposefully into the backstage dark. You coulda cut the sense of entitlement with a knife: either big-music execs used to getting what they want or the truest of fans (a formidably impoverished portion of whom hadn't figured they'd be able to see the Pixies for months, if at all) who well-deserved anything they could get. And we'd all been promised encores (and that Neil Young cover!) by setlists on the Internet, and they had still skipped a giant chunk of catalog—"Monkey Gone to Heaven," "Here Comes Your Man," most if not all of Trompe Le Monde—and now we were at the special-person secret show with all the equipment fluffed-up and ready to go? Rich people must feel this certain of good things every goddamn moment of their lives. And then the techs came out again and hit every off switch onstage. Hmm. Everyone's smiles went stiff. A few people chanted, "PIX-IES, PIX-IES" and clapped, but 3,000 cubic feet of uncomfortable silence snuffed that out before the house lights came on. "People don't know how to put up much of a fight anymore," I said; that's what happens when your fan base is all people who never got up the guts to ask someone to prom. Somewhere the Pixies had looked at one another and shrugged. They were gonna sweat tomorrow in the desert. Tonight, they'd just sit. (Chris Ziegler)

 
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