Pixies at Marlay Park, Dublin – Review & Photos
The sky was decidedly overcast on Sunday the 29th of June 2014 but that still didn’t stop people arriving in their droves, almost 30,000 to be precise, to Marlay Park to have the ears rocked by TVVINS and Pixies before basking in the sheer musical awesomeness of Arcade Fire. Admittedly, the uncertain weather had left me feeling rather uneasy about how the live performances would be, fortunately, the sun decided to appear and shine down upon music lovers whilst they received their first pat-down of the summer; people were so stunned by the scorching temperatures that some even forgot they were carrying bottles of vodka in their handbags. Nonetheless, the atmosphere was distinctly palpable, the sheer merriment was clear from the onset and people were willing to even shell out 8.50 for a chicken burger, even me.
TVVINS hit the stage by 4pm and left the audience in no doubt that this was the best possible way to kick off the series of gigs running in Marlay Park in the coming weeks. Their sound is a decidedly interesting combination of rock with a sort of electro-vintage-synth; those are not words I ever thought I would be putting together. Their set was the perfect accompaniment to bands like Ham Sandwich and Pixies, particularly on a summer day as they have a sort of idiosyncratic element of the tropical to their manner. However, their set was, as they put it, “short and sweet”, just as I felt I was finally getting a feel for their style they shut their set down. Their standout track was “Thank You”, which proved to be the ideal combination of upbeat rhythms and earthy undertones to adequately get the crow warmed up!
Of course, they were only the appetiser to the amazing Pixies, I love those guys (and gal), and the actual joy of being able to see them for the first time in my life is simply indescribable. It’s fair to say that people were just as excited to see them as they were about Arcade Fire, having avidly watched their Glastonbury performance the night before I was waiting with sheer baited breath as Black Francis and co. took to the stage. Their set was rather simple, had it not been for their wondrously unique style of screamelodica and gargling mania, from a distance you would have never known it was they. Nonetheless, that’s the style of Pixies; they invest themselves in their music and not visual aspects.
However, whilst keeping visual elements to a minimum is perfectly fine, some degree of engagement with the audience is always healthy yet the group obviously didn’t feel like it on Sunday. From the time they came upon stage until they left they said little to the crowd, in fact, the most Black Francis said to the crowd was his closing statement which roughly translated to “my guitar just died, I’ll take that as my sign to leave” (that’s a very rough interpretation of what he said). Yet, just like that, they left the stage in a rather abrupt manner it raised a few eyebrows to say the least, people had travelled far to watch Pixies perform and whilst their music simply oozed psychedelic prowess, their subdued manner towards the crowd left a lot to be desired. In saying that, if I had just performed at Glastonbury I’d probably have to resign myself to the bed for a month so the fact that they took to the stage the day after is simply astounding. “Ed is Dead” just gripped the crowd, eagerly chanting along to the chorus each time, even the less avid Pixies fans were eagerly pumping their fists in time with the music, Pixies know how to draw in the crowd with their rifts. Similarly, for “La La Love You” they somehow managed to get 30,000 people to “shake [their] butt[s]” along.
Drummer, David Lovering was able to finish off on the finally hook, “All I’m saying pretty baby” with a voice as smooth as silk, it was like a bar of Galaxy chocolate. Of course, the old favourites like “Here Comes Your Man” and “Where is My Mind” simply drove the crowd into a frenzy of chanting and head banging. The audience’s ability to hum along to the latter was simply breath taking, for a moment no one else could focus on anything but that tune. In short, Pixies blew my mind in some ways, in others I felt a little bit hollow, the abrupt leaving without even an encore of “Debaser” (which I assume was what people were waiting for) was a little surprising but then again, that’s the epitome of Pixies, they are surprising and intriguing in so many ways.
See also: Arcade Fire – Review & Photos
Review by Elaine McDonald
Photos by Tudor Marian