Last weekend the eyes of the music world were once again on the North East of England with the news that local lad Sam Fender had taken the Number 1 spot in the official charts with his debut album release.

Fender’s first record may well have been a talking point in the region, but without a question of doubt, the hot ticket in Newcastle was the Pixies return to the city.

Having sold out the O2 Academy Newcastle once again in record time, on this run the legendary quartet are back with a brand new studio album – Beneath the Eyrie.

The thing that separates the music greats from the rest is their ability to put on a show. And at 30 plus years into their career most bands would just show up and play the same set every night, or just phone it in so to speak. And who could blame them? But alt-rock legends the Pixies aren’t just any band.

The beauty of a Pixies show is that each concert is a unique experience. There is no setlist, the band play based on their read of the audience, with just a wink and nod between them to orchestrate the proceedings. And in this respect, the band live dangerously and play without a safety net so to speak.

However, this approach keeps things interesting for both the band and their fans alike. Peering over the stage, there is nothing in front of guitarist Joey Santiago’s feet other than some chord charts. The band don’t even know what they are going to play until it happens.

For approximately 2 hours the Pixies take their Tyneside audience on a musical mystery tour through their expansive discography spanning seven studio albums. The Pixies leave no stone unturned. And whilst the show was certainly nostalgic in places there was also plenty of room for new material with the whole of the Pixies latest offering featured in the show.

New tracks such as the infectious Catfish Kate, the dark and brooding This Is My Fate and the bass heavy On Graveyard Hill sat perfectly in the set alongside many of the band’s timeless classics. Indie rock anthems such as Velouria, Here Comes Your Man, Gouge Away, Isla De Encanta, Monkey Gone To Heaven and Where Is My Mind? all featured. The sold-out O2 Academy crowd sung wholeheartedly and at the tops of their voices throughout.

Each track in the set is played back to back with little room for pause as the quartet lets the music do the talking. The Pixies 39 song set comes to its conclusion with a magnificent encore airing of Debaser. No matter whether you were a fan new or old, there was something in the set for everyone.

Now unquestionably, the Pixies could have quite easily opted to play a bigger venue or arena setting – but we are glad they didn’t. To see a band of this magnitude and stature in such an intimate theatre setting is a rare treat indeed. 33 years on and the Pixies have still got it.

Pixies
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Event Date: 21-Sept-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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