The Pixies @ The National ~ Richmond, VA

After a night of freezing temperatures and lots of snow (thankfully not as much as the eastern coastline) and a forgettable day at work, I got to hang out with friends and put my birthday gift to use – a ticket to see Alt-Rock Legends ~ The Pixies @ The National in Richmond,VA.

pixies logo

Before we hit the venue, we were going to get some food at Gibson’s Grill, next door, to avoid the cold and solve our growling stomachs. However, Gibson’s was dead. It was weird and eerie. However, The National does not operate that business and from what we were hearing – they weren’t going to re-open. The place was pretty convenient for food and access to the venue. However, it wasn’t really that fantastic. No real loss. Let’s hope for something better moves in.

The National was being awesome and letting people into the venue so we wouldn’t have to freeze. I snagged a t-shirt and we roamed around. Apparently, they do serve some cheap pizza upstairs, so my friend grabbed a slice and some cider. Me and her boyfriend decided to hold out for dinner after the show. I didn’t not feel like paying $4 for cheap sliced pizza. I buy a whole Totino Pizza for $1.57 at Target and come out more satisfied.

To warm up, I got a fruity drink since they don’t have hot tea. A shivering girl has to have a backup plan, right? One Pineapple Fluff to go and onward we scouted for a good spot! The crowd was pretty thin at first but as the night progressed – the place became packed.

The opening act to The Pixies was a band called FIDLAR (origin 2009), a skate punk/garage punk band from Los Angeles California. he band’s name is an acronym for ‘Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk.’  They have toured with The Black Lips and The Hives. The band is composed of Elvis Kuehn (guitar/vocals) and Max Kuehn (drums), who happen to be the sons of Greg Kuehn, keyboardist for Long Beach punk legends T.S.O.L.. They are joined by Zac Carper (vocals/guitar), son of famed surfboard designer John Carper, and bassist Brandon Schwartzel (Wikikpedia).

Source:Pitchfork (Owen Richards)
Source: Pitchfork (Owen Richards)

FIDLAR’s lyrics seem to revolve around booze, drugs, and women…typical Rock and Roll themes. However, their sound is very crafted and played with precision. There is a diversity in their musical elements and the singing switches off between Elvis and Zac. Zac’s vocals are the strongest in terms of being heard through the gyration and impassionate, punkish-yet-mild lyrical rancor of their electrifying set.

I have been to a lot of concerts and what can be annoying is when the music drowns out the singer. This happened during the both the FIDLAR’s and The Pixies’ sets – more so for FIDLAR. However, FIDLAR have great musicianship. At first, oh, another punk-surf band…but they really had some interesting melodies. Can’t say their lyrics are very complex but they music is very engaging. If you really want weird conceptal check out their video for “Cocaine” featuring Nick Offerman. Warning: The video is NSFW. (For more on FIDLAR, check out this Pitchfork feature.)

All Rights Reserved (2014) Robot x Robot (Lynn Shipp)
All Rights Reserved (2014) Robot x Robot (Lynn Shipp)

Kim Deal left The Pixies last year and there went my hopes of seeing a legendary band. A fait accompli, I cry! So, yeah, I sucked it up and decided to go away…but like I said…I didn’t pay for the ticket. My awesome friends gave me a ticket for my birthday. Woohoo! Now, I begin this with the whole-hearted disclaimer that I am not a “huge” Pixies fan. I have my favorite songs, but I never have explored their catalog.

Why did I even want to come to the concert?

Well, sometimes, you just grow into something. Up to this past year, I was only a casual listener of Queen, I had really never explored their work. Boy, did I feel ashamed as an audiophile. Freddie Mercury in my opinion is the epitome of a great vocalist, musician, and performer. The group is amazing for all the styles that it explored. I never realized what range they had as musicians and Freddie, as a vocalist. I was mesmerized. So, and obviously this not a post about Queen, in 2014, I am on the hunt to understand and delve into The Pixies; what better way then to go see them live!

The band came on stage and just delved right into things. They played one song after other. It was like listening to a continuous-play dance album. There was very little pause in the set.

All Rights Reserved (2014) Robot x Robot (Lynn Shipp)
All Rights Reserved (2014) Robot x Robot (Lynn Shipp)

Set List

  1. Bone Machine
  2. Wave of Mutilation
  3. River Euphrates
  4. What Goes Boom
  5. The Sad Punk
  6. Ana
  7. Gouge Away
  8. Magdalena
  9. Cactus
  10. Crackity Jones
  11. Isla de Encanta
  12. Monkey Gone to Heaven
  13. Indie Cindy
  14. Where Is My Mind?
  15. Nimrod’s Son
  16. Mr. Grieves
  17. The Holiday Song
  18. Silver Snail
  19. Motorway to Roswell
  20. Ed Is Dead
  21. Here Comes Your Man
  22. La La Love You
  23. Break My Body
  24. I’ve Been Tired
  25. In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)
  26. Andro Queen
  27. Greens and Blues
  28. Vamos


  1. Debaser
  2. Broken Face
  3. Head On
    (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)
  4. U-Mass

Encore 2

33.  Planet of Sound

The bassist replacing Kim Deal is Paz Lenchantin (formerly of A Perfect Circle). She’s good, but she’s just no Kim Deal. Her vocals were drowned out when she did sing, and I just didn’t find her bass playing epic. However,  she did a good job. I don’t really think anyone can replace Deal.  It’s too bad her and Frank can’t get along that well.

The crowd was very enthused. There was a wide range of ages at the show. Despite getting beer spilled on me by some hyper-jumping hipster college kid, I survived many attempts by wannabe punk waifs  and bearded Pabst Blue hipsters to snatch my spot. There was a bit of pushing around and claustrophobic moments – but it was all good. I had a fantastic view of the band.

The crowds enthusiasm garnered an encore and a one song final encore.

The concert has me definitely wanting to check out The Pixies more because the recordings are just going to be more clear and less distorted by the music taking over the vocals.

If you get a chance, check out this tour. I think you will be pleased. Did I mention – none of the band said a single word to the crowd. They merely smiled and gestured. Left me with a myriad of feelings and wondering what it all meant. I guess the thing to take away is perhaps their gift is their music. What they give of themselves is in the music. I guess that is raw as you get or otherwise, they are just not a very talkative bunch.




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