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Pixies live at Albert Hall, Manchester

PIXIES LIVE IN MANCHESTER – WHAT HAPPENED?

Pixies made a triumphant return to Manchester in the first of a three night residency of sold out shows at Manchester’s Albert Hall. The venue was the perfect place for this iconic band. The last time Pixies played the city was at a very intimate gig at Band On the Wall and only lucky few grabbed the chance to see them at such a small venue.

Tonight the alt rockers were performing two classic albums, their third studio album ‘Bossanova’ – 1990 and in its entirety, and an album that proved very popular in the UK, peaking at number three in the album charts. The album is iconic and made with elements of grunge threaded through the rock but still heavily non-mainstream. The second album played was the 1991 album ‘Trompe Le Monde’ which includes a cover of ‘Head On’ by The Jesus and Mary Chain (who play this venue next week).

The audience were warmed up by local rockers Pale Waves, who formed in Manchester in 2014 and have gradually built up a loyal fan base over the last decade. The band hit a mix of genres, and have been describes as pop-punk, pop-rock and even elements of goth into the mix. I heard many clear influences, including The Cranberries and at times a little of Cocteau Twins which made for an impactful performance and one that was well received by an audience who had turned up extra early to see them.

Black Francis casually walked on stage, shades and plenty of attitude as the band kicked off the special album play with ‘Cecilia Ann’. As soon as the first notes hit I knew this was going to be a special evening of music. The lighting was atmospheric with a giant Pixies logo lit up behind the band, bathing Albert Hall in orange light. The sound was equally incredible, so a shout out to all those unsung heroes, the sound engineers and guitar techs who work tirelessly at events like this to make them memorable.

Tonight saw the newer line up with bassist Emma Richardson on stage, who recently replaced the departed Paz Lenchantin, who’s departure has caused some controversy in the last week. The band were completed by drummer David Lovering and lead guitarist Joey Santiago. Regardless of any in-band tension at the start of this tour, the four members on stage put on one of the best rock band performances I have seen for a very long time, showing that despite the albums being released in the early 90’s, they remain totally relevant today.

The audience was primarily the older generation who could appreciate this release first time round, but an eager eyed gig goer would have also spotted a few younger fans, proving that music of this calibre is timeless. The evening ended with a special ‘tour first’ rendition of ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’.

Anyone attending tonight or tomorrow is in for a treat!

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