A former frontman of one of the most notable alternative rock bands in modern rock history playing solo living high on his former bands fame, while the guitarist from the same band is doing music scores for documentary movies, while trying to support his wife and two children.
Somewhere else in the US, the former drummer is sweeping the sand of a beach in California with his metal detector and performing magic shows in the evening. And the middle-aged women, who used to be every rock chicks big role model as the cool bassist, has moved in with her mother to get out of a massive drug habit – doing some music gigs from time to time with her twin sister.
It had all smelled of a “let’s make some quick money on our long-lost fame” and a huge disaster when the Pixies announced a reunion tour in 2004 after more then 10 years apart. But surprisingly it all turned out well. They actually managed to gather huge crowds and get great reviews. The air between the two creative front figures, bassist Kim Deal and singer Black Francis, remained as cold as it was around the bands break-up in 1993, but on stage they where as hot as ever.
Just as hot as they were, when they got their big break-through with the debut album “Surfer Rosa” in 1988. With a sound, drawing on elements of alternative, noise and psychedelic rock, they started the wave of alternative rock bands in the ’90s. In an interview, Kurt Cobain is quoted for saying that he tried to rip-off the sound of “Surfer Rosa” on Nirvana’s hit album “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
While “Surfer Rosa” was a alternative rock album with a raw sound, the follow-up, “Doolittle”, became a bit more stream-lined and got out to a bigger audience. Suddenly everyone knew who the Pixies were.
They remained to have a huge impact on the music scene of the ’80s and the early ’90s, getting admiration and inspiring people like Thom Yorke, Bono, David Bowie and later on Julian Casablancas from the The Strokes.
But what about the Pixies anno 2014? Do they still got it? Or will we witness an embarrassing melt-down on stage like The Stone Roses did on Northside in 2012?
Don’t worry. Being on/off tours since the reunion in 2004, they still score full stars for their live performances and have even been called “one of the best live bands at the moment” in some reviews; even after bassist Kim Deal decided to quit the band last summer.
Earlier this month, they closed Field Days in London, hailing praises from The Telegraph and The Guardian with top scores for their performance, and praised by NME as one of the highlights of the festival.
With a new album just out (Indie Cindy) – the first one in 23 years and a decent one in fact – their concert at Northside could be one of the absolute highlights of the festival. With or without Kim Deal as back-up, I predict that the hit-single “Where is my mind” will be a blast for the crowd as their last number, leaving everyone behind with a feeling of having witnessed a band still rocking on the old days.