Now that live shows are back in full swing, the House of Blues was full of life. The moment I stepped onto the grounds of the Anaheim landmark, electricity was in the air to see legends in the flesh, the one and only Pixies.
I could tell the night was going to be epic, and as I stepped into the grand entrance, it was clear this sold-out show would be a capacity crowd.
The fans were ready for a good old-fashioned rock show, and the openers, Irish rockers The Clockworks, did not disappoint.
They came out guns a’blazin” and full of energy. The Clockworks feature James McGregor (vocals, guitar), Seán Connelly (guitar), Damian Greaney (guitar), and Tom Freeman (bass), and the best way to describe their sound is… Well, imagine Joy Division and Fontaines D.C. merged together to form a band; that combination would be The Clockworks.
The guys have a great beat, heavy guitar licks, and lead singer McGregor has a very distinctive voice. Immediately the crowd was enthralled by their sound, and some of the biggest responses came during their hits “The Future Is Not What It Was” and “Throw It All Away.”
After a short intermission, the main event was about to take place. The crowd was amped and ready for some Pixies. As the lights dimmed, the crowd erupted and the beat of “Gouge Away” filled the House of Blues. As the dark lighting lifted, Paz Lenchantin stepped forward and her silhouette and thumping bass pierced you. Joey Santiago stepped up and his guitar came to life. David Lovering on drums seemed to be more than ready for this show, and Frank (Charles/Black Francis) also came forward out of the shadows to his distinctive vocal stylings.
The band seemed so ready to be back on stage, and they were more animated than I have seen in the past. Right away, “U-Mass” brought an excited vocal response from the crowd.
As the decibels grew higher in electricity, they went into their Jesus & Mary Chain cover of “Head On.” Maybe it’s because I have covered this band for a decade or two, but seconds into the song, I could tell there was something up with Frank’s vocals. Perhaps not enough for the crowd to notice, but I could tell there was a difference. Regardless, he and the band pushed through and nobody was the wiser.
Throughout the show, Joey and Paz were electrifying, David kept a high-velocity beat, and Frank kept hydrating between songs, but he too was intense all night long. The set list continued some of our favorites – “Debaser,” “Gigantic” – but by the time they got to “Bleed,” Frank began to lose his voice. Pixies kept on with “Wave of Mutilation,” “Nimrod’s Son,” and closed it on a shorter than normal set with “Caribou.” Keep in mind, Pixies often play more than 30 songs, and this night consisted of 26; still a nice chunk of songs.
March 16, 2022
The band was due to perform in San Diego the following night, but had to cancel due to illness. As disappointing as that is, unfortunately, our sonic heroes are human. The band was able to perform a few nights later in Mexico and will now head to Europe for a run of dates.
Perhaps the end of the show was not what we expected, regardless… it was still a nice way to welcome back live shows with Pixies. As for the fans, they couldn’t have been happier to see these sonic heroes up close and personal after the past two years of personal challenge. It was for that reason alone it was an inspiring night of music at the House of Blues!