Friday, 29 July 2011

Dance With the Pixies

Around Christmas 1987, while living in a house in Finchley that I shared with five others, a friend turned up with a new release by a new band.
He was very enthusiastic, and acting like an A & R man, he sat me down and told me to shut up and listen.
I acquiesced without too much complaint as he had previously introduced me to the Cardiacs, and various other hot items of the time, and this 12" had the most intriguing cover and an equally curious title.

It only took about four bars of music to know that what I was hearing was something very special indeed.
By the time the second track began to play my other housemates joined us; the sounds attracting them like rats to the music of the Pied Piper.

Nobody said a word, and as soon as it was finished, like crack we were all desperate to experience it again.

The piece was Come On Pilgrim by the Pixies.
A true masterpiece.
And something the band never equalled (although Surfer Rosa came close).

Still shocked and stunned we went on mass a few months later to The Mean Fiddler, and caught a band truly in their prime.

I realise now just how lucky I was to see them in that tiny Harlesden venue.
They were sooooooooooo hot.
We must have been a very enthusiastic audience, as the band seemed overwhelmed by the reception and response by all those, who just like me, recognised them as being something quite extraordinary.

'Fuck me,' said Kim into the mike, when she received our enthusiastic welcome; not out of exasperation, but in an imperative way; a way that truly expressed a desire to consume our love for them - and they hadn't even played a note (she always was a tease: listen to how on this recording she giggles after asking the audience 'D'y'all go to school?').

I have searched and searched for a copy of that Mean Fiddler gig, without luck (but hey, if you have a copy or know where one exists, I'd be eternally grateful for a link [not torrent]...).

But this will do for now; a very good recording broadcast by the good old BBC, post-Surfer Rosa, around the time of the release of Doolittle (an album for me that really marked the death of the Pixies); a set that retains some of their initial energy and guts.

Pixies - Live, Newcastle Poly, 1989

Into the White
Wave of Mutilation
There Goes My Gun
Monkey Gone To Heaven
Isla Da Encanta
Bone Machine
Gouge Away

Excellent rip from cassette captured FM broadcast
Pixielate here


OLDNIK said...

I wasn't as lucky as you!
I only got to see them in 1990 at Sheffield City Hall, around the time of Bossanova.
Personally, this was the death knell of the Pixies, the polished sound just sounded too.. poppy for me.
I did however love Doolittle, thee was still some of the rawness and strangeness from Surfer Rosa in the mix, but Surfer Rosa I just loved, that was my first introduction.
The gig however, was fantastic, enthusiastically pogoing away in the moshpit!
I think kids today are spoiled and get it all too easy music wise, we had to hunt and scrabble thru dusty second hand record shops and shuffle to the counter in intimidating record stores (mine was Warp records in Sheffield) not to mention the blind leaps of faith from buying albums on the cover alone,,, although 4AD made this easy.
I can totally relate to how you discovered the Pixies, word of mouth and cool mates...
From the Steve Albini production on Surfer Rosa I went on to Big Black and used this system for discovering new music, for example Blue Room by THe Orb, bassline by Jah Wobble, this is how I found Full Circle, the collection of tracks he did with Holger Czukay and Jaki Lebizeit from Can, which opened up a whole new world of Krautrock and Kosmische to me, while my mates were still digging the usual indie scene, I was off on my own tangent, discovering thru reading the small print on the backs of 12" and CD's
As for Pixies, well, I hear they're releasing an iphone app.... hmmmmm. I didn't go and see them on their reunion tours, I didn't want to sully the memory of seeing them 21 years ago ( fuck! seems like yesterday)

roy rocket said...

Never got on with 'Doolittle'; although it does stand up today compared with so much derivative trash (old fella speak).
Did 'Surfer Rosa' take you back to 'Come On Pilgrim'?

You're so right about making those connections. Liner notes were so important to us oldies.
Impossible today with the mp3,who knows of producers? or even musicians nowadays?
Bloggers are the way now of course; but then it's mainly the oldies who are reading and interacting with music blogs; the yoof just head for the torrents.
Instant gratification, innit.
Regards and best wishes, roy

I vomit 4 u ! said...

Thx for this always loved the early pixies stuff but haven't played any for a while, cheers !!

roy rocket said...

Link fixed! roy