Live  Review

The Pixies Perform At Black Box, Istanbul

 

 

Reporting for duty, Sean Bw Parker files his live review of the Pixies, as they rolled into Istanbul for the first time ever, ahead of their coveted Glastonbury performance.

 

Pixies Live @ The Black Box, Istanbul 

Part of a very impressive summer of music in the ‘Bul, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Portishead, Tori Amos et al, the anticipation for the legendary Pixies first show in the city at the Black Box venue (still under construction, unbelievably) in the depths of Istanbul’s main financial district Maslak, has been electric. The historical city of Sultanahmet feels a very long way away on this balmy evening.

 

Following a well-received set by local rock n roll heroes The Ringo Jets in the cavernous hall (think Wembley Arena with better acoustics), Black Francis and co appear, black t-shirt clad and cool as ice: non-existent stage banter or chat, because it’s all there embedded in the songs.

Whether by Francis’ request or for some other reason, his vocals (full of fire, brimstone, environmental and emotional destruction and cosmic fury as ever) are very low in the mix, with part-time magician drummer Dave Lovering’s pounding, rolling drums taking most of the attention. Be-capped (except when he started to beat his guitar with it) lead guitarist Joe Santiago’s riffs are as iconic as ever, like lightning in a canyon in summer – though the band deigned not to grace us with the visceral charge of ‘Bone Machine’ or ‘Is She Weird?’

‘Velouria’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’ and ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’, Francis craning at the mike as high as he can behind his yellow telecaster or acoustic, were all received like old friends, though. It was interesting to see in the packed arena, the entire standing area, particularly the first few rows were full of teenagers, proving the re-energising draw of a band nearly thirty years old.

 

Many people’s first memory of the Pixies was university-based – well they’re that kind of a band, aren’t they. Mine was on The Late Review on BBC2 in about 1990, a young, beguiling four piece, then of course featuring bassist Kim Deal, banging out ‘Monkey…’ in stripped down, grainy black and white, while the rest on the UK were busily trouser-hopping to MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. The idea that a quarter of a century later they would make it out to Istanbul to pack out an urban concert arena seemed very far away. All together now, ‘If man is five, if man is five, if man is five…then the devil is six, then the devil is six, then the devil is six…’

 

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