Pixies, Broken Social Scene / Hammerstein Ballroom / Dec. 14, 2004
I could lie and say that this was the best concert of my life. I could say that it was totally worth the ten year wait, and the fifty dollar ticket. That they blew the roof off and set my hair on fire. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first person to say it.
Honestly? It wasn’t that great.
They played everything I wanted them to play, and more—even “La La Love You” as the final encore, dedicated to David Lovering’s mom, who was in the audience. (Frank Black thanked her for letting them practice in her basement, and then said something like “Who knows? We might be back there soon.”) Lots of stuff from Trompe Le Monde: “Planet of Sound,” “U Mass,” “Subbacultcha.” Doolittle and Surfer Rosa almost in their entirety. Joey Santiago did some cool tricks during his “Vamos” solo where he hit the guitar with a drumstick, and then unplugged the cable and hit it against his head to make fuzzy feedback noises. Everybody in the band seemed content. Kim Deal even called Frank Black “Charles” at the end.
But … I don’t know. It wasn’t exciting. Yes, Frank/Francis/Charles screamed like he was trying to push the last few remaining hairs out of his scalp, and David Lovering’s flamboyant arm movements reminded me of a magician’s.* But they just kind of stood there and played. Kim lurked in the back for most of the set, facing the drum kit. They barreled through song after song like it was just a job (which, I suppose, it is.) I didn’t feel any magic. The audience was way more excited than the four Pixies—I almost wish they had brought the woman going batshit-crazy in the row in front of me up on stage to dance.
I literally slept through Broken Social Scene’s set. Like, drool was dripping out of my mouth and onto my coat. Not because their set was particularly bad, but because I hadn’t slept the night before. In between dreams, I did notice that they brought out the girl from Metric, who spent most of the time doubled over in that classic hardcore singer I-am-feeling-this-so-much-my-body-is-going-to-split-in-half pose.
Also, I didn’t notice any of the sound problems that