Monday, November 15, 2004

Gigiantic, Gigiantic, Gigiantic: A Big, Big, Review

On Saturday night, I added the quintessential jewel missing from my concert repertoire; I heard the Pixies play live, in mighty Chi-Town.

This Boston supergroup broke up in 1992, abandoning its seat at the apex of alt-rock bands. Their presence was so impactful that Rolling Stone went so far as to anoint 1988's Surfer Rosa and 1989's Doolittle as two of the greatest 500 albums of all time.

The buzz of excitement had surrounded this event for months, I had purchased tickets back in April and had been holding back my anticipation. When I showed up at the venue shortly after 7p.m., a massive line of people had already formed waiting patiently to be allowed in.

*Interesting Side Note: There was no line for the Women’s Security check, while our hapless male counterparts were forced to cool their heels in a very long queue.

Getting in to the concert was an event in itself. Security was ridiculous, to say the least. Some of the excessive requests included: all hats removed to be checked (never go to a concert with a bad hair day fellas ;) my keys were also removed and… fondled!?! When will I have to ‘check’ my keys at the door to see some music? Or drop them off at chum’s house ‘cuz they can’t enter the venue? Sheesh! To this point, one of our party was sent back to her car as there was a WMD on her keyring….the harmful threat? A mini-protractor.

On to the show:
From the opening notes to the final encore, the fabulous foursome was back in full-force. The sound was unfortunately, erratic at best. This tribute to classic alt-rock was staged at The Aragon, and while it features a vintage Moroccan backdrop it also morphs into a echoing cavern when an amp is plugged in.

I had been warned of this, but it was THE PIXIES and I was not going to miss another opportunity to see them. The cavern effect was actually beneficial on ‘Planet of Sound’ allowing the wave of dissonance to envelope and surround one…quite a neato trick. Mysteriously, a few of the songs turned out sparkling clear; Gigantic, Wave of Mutilation, Debaser and U-Mass. Then, not more than minutes later, others sounded muddy and hollow– Kim’s vocals were completely drowned out on ‘Hey’ and ‘Velouria.’

Being as The Pixies projected a laid-back persona on the plain, smoky stage, speaking little to fans, and concentrating on the music while the sound guy was bouncing around like a jackrabbit on Meth trying vainly to woo an apathetic girl….Well, it does seem a tad obvious where the broken link might have been.

But that didn't seem to matter to the frenzied crowd, who continually clapped, cheered, and moshed the night away – Something to note: the mean age of the crowd was around 34, and attired in GAP….very interesting amalgamation indeed!

My favorite visual of the evening was produced during ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven”: A backlit Black, screaming at the top of his lungs, "If the Devil is six, then God is seven!", was perfectly framed by the fans upraised arms holding five fingers, then six and seven….it made me reminisce for this famous commercial.

It’s true you can never go back, but despite the various tribulations encountered, I walked out after the 90min set ears ringing and thrilled to have finally experienced this colossal band of my youth.


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