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The Pixies, possessors of the finest loud/quiet dynamic in guitar music, purveyors of Dali-esque surrealism and tales of sexual depravity, landed in Wellington on Friday night to seduce the crowd with their dark magic dust.
The band launched into the double whammy of “Gouge Away” and “Wave of Mutilation” with the fury of a band whose power remains undiminished since their formation in Boston 30-odd years ago.
Mass sing-alongs of the calmer and poppier “Here Comes Your Man” and “Where is My Mind?” ensued, demonstrating fans’ affection for their pop hooks. Viewing the whole, mostly middle-aged, mosh pit raging like drunken sailors in a bar fight to more frantic oddities such as “Crackity Jones” and “Vamos” further encapsulated their fans’ joy.
Material from recent release Head Carrier had the quietest crowd engagement throughout, although songs such as “Classic Masher” proved a welcome respite from the intensity of their heavier material (this was, after all, a tour in support of the new album).
The mammoth 30-song set ended with the encore climax of “Into the White”, an especially unsettling number, sung by new bass player Paz Lenchantin, that the band performed invisibly — completely engulfed in a cloud of white smoke illuminated by flashing lights. This was tantamount to where the charms of the show often lay: the Pixies perform with risk to fully embrace the danger in their music, the operative devil in the details. The Pixies remain a vital force to be reckoned with.