Pixies were not mucking about. After walking on stage to the comedy stylings of the Beatles oddity You Know my Name (Look up the Number) the group launched straight into what is arguably their biggest hit Where is My Mind?.

It was a heck of a way to start the show and a clear signal that they weren't going to be chained to either nostalgia or their formidable legacy.

From there they dived right into their other big hit Here Comes Your Man. They ripped through it with conviction, erasing any pre-gig concerns that this would be a band simply going through the motions.

They were edgy and spiky. Those wonderful pop melodies nestling up beside the brutish jagged frenzy they would regularly unleash throughout the night.


It was after a cover of Neil Young's Winterlong that they first brought the ruckus.

With a maniacal laugh punctuating the lyric Black Francis sung, "I hope everything is alriiiight," as the band pummelled their way through Mr Grieves. Live it was far more thrashy than the now tame sounding record cut off Doolittle. But Francis ended it abruptly, seemingly catching the rest of the band off-guard.

Lead guitarist Joey Santiago wandered over and the pair started retuning their guitars. It took a fair while. So long, in fact, that bassist Paz Lenchantin also moseyed over to the center of the stage to see what the hold up was.

It was a giant psyche out. From the middle of the huddle, that crazed laugh emerged. "I hope everything is alriiiiiight," and boom! They were off again with the rest of the song before hurtling straight into Nimrod's Son without pausing for breath.

It wasn't the only bit of showmanship. During Vamos Santiago got a chance to display his idiosyncratic, hugely badass, lead gat work. During an extended solo drummer Dave Lovering tossed him a drumstick which Santiago then used to extract the most unholy screeches and sqwarks from his guitar. It was too much for his instrument to handle and, eventually, a string broke.

This didn't slow him down at all. Instead he tossed the drum stick back to Lovering who caught it and spiced up the beat, before grabbing the flailing string and using it to finish the solo, yanking it up and out from his body to control the distorted sound.

It was brutal and, it has to be said, pretty damned awesome. But that was pretty much the extent of flash from the band.

For the most part they stayed in the shadows. Spotlights would occasionally find a Pixie but the lighting was generally dim and dark and the stage bristling with smoke.

This had the unusual effect of making the mass of Vector Arena feel like a dingy club. There were even a couple of crowd surfers.

The band powered thorough close to 30 songs, firing them out in quick 1-2 punches. Their were a couple of tunes from the new album Head Carrier, including Lenchantin's brilliant solo turn on the wistful All I Think About Now and the fast paced grunt of Um Chagga Lagga, as well as a lot of classics, including Monkey Gone to Heaven, Debaser Wave of Mutilation and the frenzied pop blast of Broken Face.

Not a word was uttered throughout the set, but they really didn't need to. Instead they simply let the music do the talking.