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Pixies Debase Glasgow

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Nick Dempsey Nick Dempsey | 16:36 UK time, Monday, 5 October 2009


Pixies coming to Glasgow gives me the perfect excuse to escape from 'gouging away' at paint pots in my new kitchen on a Sunday night. I arrive on my bike to meet Simon outside around 8pm. I am shocked to realise that the last time I went to a gig here was Simple Minds in 1988. They were in their most ludicrous stadium phase and I loved it anyway (at 16 I didn't have much to compare it with). The SECC hasn't changed - still a giant shed.

Nostalgic feelings are appropriate as the Pixies' current tour celebrates 20 years since the release of Doolittle. Despite being their catchiest collection of songs it didn't get them the mainstream success later enjoyed by so many of their grungey followers in the 90s, none of whom were anywhere near as good, but it did win them a legion of devoted fans in the UK.

group1.jpgLast time they played here in 1990 the stage collapsed, so I am expecting something big. We are too late to see Sons and Daughters, which is a shame because I really like Sons and Daughters. Abstract projections bring expectant cheers as Joey Santiago saunters onto the stage and picks up his guitar, followed by the ever smiling Kim Deal. Biggest noise is reserved for Frank Black aka Black Francis, punk's David Lynch. The band turns to watch the movie which culminates in a lady's eye being sliced open...and we're off.

It's an odd opening but this is an odd band. We are greeted with four B sides, all good but nothing recognisable (I guess I'm not an uber-fan). Five songs in they play Debaser. This is what Pixies are about - ultra-tight drumming, ultra-catchy melodies, that clean Kim Deal bass sound, Joey's squealing guitar licks, Frank's unhinged screams, and demented choruses which you absolutely must sing along to. People are leaping up and down, Kim's grin keeps expanding...Glasgow loves the Pixies.


Doolittle is a great album, but there is a down side to celebrating a particular release - ditching the more extreme punk fury exhibited on their earlier records means the gig doesn't quite have the energy of the last time I saw them at Meadowbank Stadium. But Gouge Away, Wave Of Mutilation, This Monkey's Gone To Heaven, Crackity Jones all bring the house down.

Now as I was taking photos I was forced to check my bag into the cloakroom, an interesting security quirk since half the crowd are holding cameras aloft (why do people feel the need to watch gigs on tiny screens?) So during the encore I thought I'd be clever and nip off early to retrieve it without having to queue. And boy did I feel like a numpty half an hour later when Simon texted me to tell me they'd played a second encore - a load of songs off Surfer Rosa, my favourite album. And I missed it. D'oh. So over to Mr Simon Bradstreet for this bit.


When the Pixies closed their first encore with a blistering rendition of B side, Into the White, it would have been a fair assumption to think, given the pre-gig blurb about the set only featuring Doolittle related material, that proceedings were drawing to a close. Indeed some in the rapidly ageing crowd, no doubt worried about the risks of staying out after ten on a school night, made an exit. Those who kept the faith were rewarded with a stunning final encore which included Nimrod's Son, Caribou, Something Against You and (of course) Where is my mind? This treat, not previously afforded to the Dublin crowd, was some reward, according to Kim Deal, for the band's previous outing at the SECC when the stage collapsed after two songs. I for one have been waiting for quite some time for that wrong to be righted and it was done in some style last night.

Lesson learned: never be sensible.


  • Comment number 1.

    Sound like I missed a blinder. Would it have been better in the Barrowlands? I know it's an old Glasgow arguement. Were there too many people to get in the Barras?
    And that eye slicing thing sounds like Luis Bunel's Un Chien Andalou- which I take it they were playing at the time.

  • Comment number 2.

    Cheers for the info about the film, disturbing stuff. Totally agree re barrowlands, but they'd have to play over 3 nights to fit all those people in, it was a total sellout. Sound quality was grand but there's something special about the Barras no doubt.

  • Comment number 3.

    This gig was amazing, I was there in 1991, so that 8 song encore was an absolute treat. Probably wouldnt've felt the same way if all we got was Doolittle and a handfull of B-Sides. Best pixies gig i've seen since their reunion (went to T in the park & Meadowbank)

    Mr Grieves:


  • Comment number 4.

    Nicl, the first time the played the SECC was in 1991, not 1990.

    The 2nd encore on Sunday was the remainder of the set from 1991 from after the stage collapsed. I got a £5 refund on the ticket in 1991. I was glad to get my money back a 2nd time round when they FINALLY completed the gig on Sunday night.


  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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