Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Pixies with The Orwells at the Roseland, Portland on 11/30/17 : Review and Photos

Story by SARAH PAYNE //

Photos by BENJAMIN MAH //

Pixies visit Portland, packing Roseland with fans hungry for their music.

The Pixies took Portland by storm last week, playing three shows at the Roseland Theater to packed houses of fans ranging from pre- to post-Pixies-breakup. And, despite the band’s tumultuous history and bassist Paz Lenchantin’s relative newness to the group – having taken over from Kim Shattuck who replaced original bassist Kim Deal – the Pixies slayed. But did you really expect anything less?

Elmhurst, IL-based rock band The Orwells opened with a 30-minute set that sounded like The Bravery and The Hive went to a Pixies concert. If you can focus on the music, that is, while frontman Mario Cuomo – in tight black pants and a Hustler t-shirt – struts across the stage in an intending-to-be-sexy-but-is-just-uncomfortable-to-watch kind of way and yells at various members of the audience.

But, like the fans at last week’s concerts, you probably didn’t come here for The Orwells.

 At 9 p.m. sharp, the Pixies – lead guitarist Joey Santiago, bassist Paz Lenchantin, drummer David Lovering and frontman Black Francis – casually take the stage. Francis stands in stark contrast to Cuomo – no gimmicks, no strutting. Just raw Pixies magic: that combination of surf rock and psychedelic noise pop that conjures up images of polite-ish mosh pits on the beach.

 The Pixies played a two-hour set, mixing in crowd-pleasers – “Debaser,” “Monkey Gone To Heaven,” “Where is My Mind?,” “Hey,” “Here Comes Your Man” – with songs from 2016’s Head Carrier like “Talent,” “Bel Esprit” and “Classic Masher,” and 2014’s Indie Cindy album. The band never broke stride, except for a quick sip of water or a wipe of sweat off the face, catering to their fans and delivering exactly what everyone came for: that unmistakable Pixies sound that made you think of the first album you listened to, be it 2016’s Head Carrier or 1988’s Surfer Rosa. And despite the absence of one of the band’s original members, they sounded… well, whole, with Lenchantin easily fitting into the group dynamic and her role as bassist and backing vocals. The band seemed at ease together, even huddling center stage to tease the audience before launching into “Here Comes Your Man.”

 After taking their bows together and exiting the stage, the Pixies quickly came back for an encore. Francis gave the other band members a chance to vocally shine, with drummer David Lovering singing out “La La Love You” and Paz Lenchantin closing the show with her girlish crooning of “Into the White,” as the Pixies slowly disappeared into a thick white fog, definitely to be seen again.

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