Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pixies; Jay Reatard @ Hammerstein Ballroom

Pixies; Jay Reatard
@ Hammerstein Ballroom
New York, NY - November 24, 2009

Diagonally across 8th Avenue from Jimmy Buffet's never-ending lucrative nostalgia tour at the Garden, the Pixies carried on their own nostalgia tour, itself something of a cash-in. Albeit this cash-in carries in it the exposing of a new generation to some of the most vibrantly earth-shattering rock music of all time, and specifically this year, it's a celebration of the Doolittle record. Also, while hordes of cabana-bedecked parrot-heads swamped New York's monstrosity of spectacle, a rather tame cross-section of Indie-rock lovers went for a stroll down memory lane at the smaller-than-you-realize Hammerstein. It was a stroll that, emotionally speaking, many of these folks probably didn't actually want to revisit - except of course for hearing the actual music.
I write all this like I know what I am talking about so at the risk of sounding like the man I never want to be - Jim Derogatis - I'll summarize it by saying that my chance to see the Pixies - while not in their glory days that now seem like those of ghosts but rather in the days of Black Francis' jowls - was worth every cent. Joey Santiago still cuts a mean guitar, the aforementioned Charlie can scream with a passion, Kim Deal is KIM MOTHERFUCKING DEAL, and David Lovering is the rock drummer that every rock drummer still wants.

Irony (or something) of the year? Like the much more successful U2, the Pixies video-backdrop features a creepy four-headed boogie-off. Who knew the mischeivous little elves could relate to the biggest band on the planet? That's a title, by the way, that many of the Pixies' fans fully expected this band to have but are actually probably glad they didn't because then they were able to keep the band all to themselves and not share them with...say...parrot-heads.

Jay Reatard came out swinging with his brand new band that his alienation and petulance brought about (I miss my chubby Jewfro bass player). In typical Jay fashion, he succeeded when he switched from the tough-core shtick to outright pure punk and rock n' roll. At some point, it seemed it would be in his interest to finally break out an acoustic guitar...and he did! But he did so only to play more of the mixed bag of stuff, and completely blowing the opportunity to wow a crowd of potential new congregants by finally playing "Don't Let Him Come Back". Oh well - at least no one got punched in the face for once.

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