Live: The Pixies/Public Access T.V.

WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL — 4/30/17: Topheavy grays find me through a patchwork of dew and concrete, waiting for the bus to school. I didn’t have the language for it at the time, but anxiousness, the feeling that the weight of the world was always coming down to me, was real. Like a lot of kids (maybe?) growing up around my age, I found a special comfort in The PixiesSurfer Rosa.

Fast-forward to 2017, where grown men are still rocking their Ghostbusters shirts, have children of their own to project their youth onto, and have stopped asking the dirty question, “What is the meaning of life?”

The Pixies are the ultimate ’90s poster child for drug addiction, satisfying sloppy aesthetic, and an identity of hipness (even with male pattern baldness or the look of having a socially-awkward person with a genius IQ) that predated an eventual Fight Club fuckboy fan base. I am Frank Black‘s complete lack of surprise. Nearly 30 years from their inception, and that passive-aggressive sound from my nervous youth still resonates with me.

Head Carrier, the band’s sixth studio album, features their newest bass player Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle, Jenny Lewis, Papa M, Queens of the Stone Age, Silver Jews, and Zwan), who replaces beloved punk icon Kim Deal (The Breeders, The Amps, was with The Pixies since ’86). Upon first listening, the album feels like a typical beach-wave record, like a Surfer Blood record — but on replay, we find that iconic angst hasn’t been lost to time. All in all, this record is extremely enjoyable, and if you strip away all the pretext that it’s The Pixies, you’ll find it has all the relevance of the top indie bands of 2017.

Show Date:
The show was hosted at White Oak Music Hall‘s lawn, which has only been open a handful of times, for bands such as M83, Morrissey, Pet Shop Boys, and Explosions In The Sky. The layout is really nice, and the place almost feels like a utopian hipster society heralding a new and upcoming Houston, with a sparse amount of post-modern cubist chairs that also serve as minimalist lights and fake grass everywhere that’s ready to be soaked with craft beer and sweaty fans’ asses.

Public Access T.V.:
Opener Public Access T.V. resembled an ’80s high-school movie where the entire cast is in their mid-30s; singer John Eatherly even looked like Jesse Eisenberg circa The Social Network. Their music is summer-fun hipster pop that would be right at home at Buffalo Exchange and no fucks given for anyone when listening to. Their newest single “Monoco” (Sony Records) is highly energetic, reminiscent of the Beach Fossils with production similar to Phoenix. Before this tour, they’ve been best known for touring with The Strokes, which is a pretty impressive pedigree for this entertaining up-and-comer.

By the time the Pixies got on stage, the whole venue was completely packed. Blasting green lights and an extremely diligent fog machine operator created a mysterious vibe for the band, introducing a quarter of silhouettes to the eager audience. Without warning, a sonic assault of melancholy chaos exploded from their instruments, inviting the thirsty crowd into the glorious uproar.

As is customary, the Pixies were super sloppy like a garage band in high school, but created an excitement that is as unique and raw as their legacy. Fundamentally, it’s the same Pixies we all know and love, though time is such a huge factor in life. Hard to believe three decades have passed since the Frank Black placed a classified advertisement in a Boston newspaper looking for a band member.

As per usual for any Houston show, the promotion was horrible, with the result being a probably way smaller show than the Pixies were used to; it felt like the usual, “fuck you, I’m not the product of the swamp, I am the swamp; I was born in it, molded by it” mentality.

Who’s really to blame for the conundrum, I’m not entirely sure, but I do see it as something we have to really address, especially since we always complain that we get skipped for bands’ tours or even why drinks are so expressive as shows. From an economical standpoint, if more people put in the effort to even go to national bands’ shows, it would drive down ticket price, booze, merch, and food cost. END

(Photos [top to bottom]: Frank Black; Paz Lenchantin; John Eatherly; The Pixies. All photos by Marshall Forse Walker.)


Live review by . Live review posted Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017. Filed under Features, Live Reviews.

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