The Pixies Represent Suburban Hell
The Pixies are living in the suburbs of craft. Their recent show in Houston was a prominent display of the glut of those who have grown tired, comfortable, or both.
Their performance reminded me very much of a huge suburban house than many associate with the revered ‘American Dream’ which is actually an uninspired monument to a culture that doesn’t value craftsmanship anymore.
There is a certain charm to sloppiness in punk rock. Having grown up on the Pixies among others, I didn’t expect this band to have harmonies in perfect thirds (like their opening act, Public Access T.V., who showed up and gave the tightest live performance I have seen in a minute without losing any of the spontaneity one desires in a live show). I did expect for there to be a cohesive and energetic expression of the railing, psychedelic punk rock they are so well known for. Instead, they took every luxury an established band could take and sang their own karaoke.
I admit to being just as pleased as the rest of the crowd when they played staples like, “Here Comes Your Man,” but those of us who missed their early shows have to wonder what the experience was like before there were two dozen guitars in a nearby tent being handed to each of them carefully between songs. The tender care with which they switched instruments and recited their lines without expression belied the give no fucks spirit of punk rock altogether.
How much then of the following sloppiness was contrived performance artifice to pander to the base of those nostalgic for their messy youth and how much of it was laziness?
Blaming the Pixies for easing into the peace of maturity would be unfair; we should all hope to mellow and ripen as we evolve. What audience members witnessed recently though was no evolution; it was slow death by settling.