Pixies prove there is still a place for loud noise at Eden Sessions

Eden Sessions 2014 review

published: Mon 14th Jul 2014

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Saturday 21st June to Tuesday 15th July 2014
Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG, England MAP
£35-£40 per session + £5 booking fee
daily capacity: 6000
last updated: Tue 19th Dec 2017

When I was around 15 years old I acquired an indie compilation on tape, knowing very few songs on it one really stuck out to me. It was 'Monkey gone to Heaven.” This strange song, with it's singing that went from the almost sounding like he couldn't be bothered to screaming in 'God is Seven' wasn't anything like the shoe gazing UK indie pop I'd heard. It opened my ears to Throwing Muses, Sonic Youth and countless other stateside pre-grunge bands many of which I saw play in the UK.
 
The Pixies split and I never got to see them live and by the time they re-formed in 2004 they were older, a little more rotund and I'd lost interest a little perhaps due to the plethora of new music I'm constantly bombarded with. When I found I could see them at the Eden Project I began to re-listen and remembered why they were not just so popular but so influential to other musicians; Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Bono of U2 to mention a couple of the most well known. 
 
Another dry English summer day as I strolled into the magnificent and surreal Eden Project site with its giant biome structures and weird sculptures and art installations. There was a mostly middle aged audience as you would expect but many youngsters too, some of whom wouldn't have been born when the band cut their first disk. 
 
So on the back of their sixth studio album (Indie Cindy) they took the stage the band took and began to play the track 'Rock Music,' instantly showing the same distortion, the same raw guitar work and the same seamless blend of quite to loud that made them unique back in the day. I couldn't believe how satisfying it was to hear Frank Black's vocal's on 'Hey', as a kid I could never decided if he was a great singer or a terrible singer but it didn't matter as it was such a stark contrast from the clean pop music I was fed by friends. Hearing 'Hey' live proved to me that there is a massive control over that vocal range he demonstrate and time hasn't affected his ability to deliver. 
 
So it began, they reeled off their songs. With so many struggling to hit the 4 minute mark there was likely to be 20 or so in the set. Drummer Dave Lovering hammered upon the drums with the energy of a teenager but the control of a Jedi master. Joey Santiago has no interest in softening the sound with age and expertly explored the line between melody and distortion. I'm going to state here that I wasn't expecting much of this gig. Seeing bands reform years down the line (possibly for purely financial reasons) is often a flat experience but I was impressed with the sound of band. The audience interaction, however, was non-existent though. Maybe this had never been a feature of Black's live performance when they were younger and cooler it was fine but now it seemed like he couldn't be bothered, wasn't enjoying it or too arrogant to care about anything other than his gig fee.
 
They played all our favourites 'Deloria', 'Wave of Mutilation', 'Debaser', 'Caribou', 'Here Comes Your Man' and some newer songs such as 'Bagboy'. Each song sounded fresh still and whilst I  thought that there may have been a number of people waiting mainly for 'Where is My Mind?' the band weren't held hostage by that one song as happens for some bands.
 
Pixies certainly proved a thing or two to me that night, that maybe the die hard fans knew already. There is still a place for loud noise, crazy singing and raw energy but it makes me wonder how Frank Black seems so chilled out. The band finished and bowed like theatre performers leaving the crowd wanting more. Everyone seem disappointed that there was no encore and I heard a few muttered words of complaints which at first I agreed with but on reflection they played almost 30 songs and played them well. I'm looking forward to hearing a seventh album.

review by: Richard Potter

Saturday 21st June to Tuesday 15th July 2014
Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG, England MAP
£35-£40 per session + £5 booking fee
daily capacity: 6000
last updated: Tue 19th Dec 2017


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