Tag Archives: Pixies

Pixies Play Secret Show In Hamilton, Ontario

Legendary alt.rockers the Pixies played a secret show at the tiny Casbah in Hamilton, Ont. on Friday night.

The band were using the show as a tune-up for their next-day performance at Virgin Festival Ontario in Toronto, as well as to test-drive what may be the setlist for the upcoming tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their Doolittle album.

Indeed, there was nothing from the Bossanova album played all night as the Pixies focused on signature Doolittle tracks like “Here Comes Your Man,” “Wave Of Mutilation,” “Debaser” and “Monkey Gone To Heaven” in addition to “Where Is My Mind” and “Gigantic” from Surfer Rosa. In another Doolittle timeline moment, Frank Black and company also dusted off a cover of Neil Young’s “Winterlong.” The band originally covered the song two decades ago for The Bridge — A Tribute To Neil Young compilation.

The Pixies’ appearance was a closely guarded secret right up until the moment they hit the stage. In the weeks prior to the event local music industry insiders were invited to what was alternately being billed as an album release showcase for Spirits, the new ’80s-tastic sounding band fronted by Brad Germain of The Marble Index, and/or as a launch party for the International Tour & Tech Academy.

Organizers were only suggesting that “an international touring band — not Canadian — will also be on the bill,” and right up until Black, Kim Deal, David Lovering and Joey Santiago appeared, there was belief among pockets of Casbah attendees that they were about to see Franz Ferdinand, who were also playing VFest the next day.

Anyone with a calendar and a good grasp of Frank Black lore would have guessed the Pixies, though. Black has a long history with the steeltown an hour south of Toronto. Sonic Unyon, the distributor for many of his solo ventures, is based in the city, he’s used the Hamilton as a rehearsal base in the past, and he’s also played secret shows at Sonic Unyon’s headquarters throughout the years.

For their part, Spirits seemed less intimidated than excited at the daunting prospect of following the Pixies. Even the lengthy almost hour-long changeover required to move the Pixies stadium show-worthy stacks of Marshall amps and other gear didn’t dampen the band’s enthusiasm as they flung themselves into songs from their self-titled debut which is set for a Sept. 29 release.

Indeed, Germain would later post on the band’s MySpace page, “did that just happen? pixies played Hamilton? we played after the pixies? insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!spirits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The show was also a good one for trainspotting some of Hammertown’s music celebs. Mingling amongst the 200 or so in attendance were Finger Eleven’s Scott Anderson, Gaz Whelan from Happy Mondays, members of Junior Boys, Sons Of Butcher, Dylan Hudecki (Cowlick, ex-By Divine Right) and at least four dudes who looked like Dan Snaith of Caribou.

This story was originally published August 30, 2009 via Chart Communications.

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4 Toughest Scheduling Conflicts Between TURF TO And Riotfest Toronto Festivals

TURF and Riotfest Festivals are both in Toronto this weekend.

TURF and Riotfest Festivals are both in Toronto this weekend.

With Toronto now designated as one of the official alphas of the North American touring music scene it often means an embarrassment of riches in terms of acts coming to the area to perform.

It also means that sometimes music lovers have to make difficult decisions about what shows they’d like to attend. Like this weekend, for instance. The three-day Toronto Urban Roots Festival (Sept. 18-20) being held at Fort York and the two-day Riotfest Toronto (Sept. 19-20) taking place at Downsview Park will both bring high-profile international and well-loved local acts together for open-field rocking of a sort that makes it tremendously difficult to decide which to attend.

Unless you’re some sort of superhero whose power is to be two places at once you just can’t win. Want proof? Check out these four scheduling conflicts between acts hitting the stages at TURF and Riotfest:

Echo And The Bunnymen (Riotfest) vs. Choir! Choir! Choir!
5:10 pm, Saturday, Sept. 19

On one side you’ve got the most brooding of original new wave goth acts and their near-perfect song “Killing Moon.” On the other you’ve got joy, wonderment, participatory singalongs and potentially transcendent communal experience. I, for the record, am not a person who naturally gravitates towards joy. Take that for what you will.

Motorhead (Riotfest) vs. Cake (TURF)
8:30 pm, Saturday, Sept. 19

Let’s face an uncomfortable truth here: Lemmy’s going to die soon. This one isn’t a conflict. If you’ve never seen Motorhead before and you think you should you MUST try to see them at any opportunity that presents itself.

Wu Tang Clan (Riotfest) vs. Neko Case (TURF)
7 pm, Sunday, Sept 20

There’s likely little overlap between these two fanbases anywhere other than my apartment, but this battle of rap vs. croon can have no winner. If pressed I’d lean slightly more pro-Neko because I can get more of what I want out of the Wu by watching a straight up Ghostface Killah (the king) show instead.

The Prodigy (Riotfest) vs. Pixies (TURF)
7 pm, Sunday, Sept 20

Granted, the Pixies have ground just about everything they could out of this reunion of theirs while The Prodigy’s return to the living is a kind of fun reminder of that second wave electronica movement in the ’90s. But when it comes down to it, which song is more important for you to hear surrounded by thousands of people, “Smack My Bitch Up” or “Here Comes Your Man”?

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Matthew Good’s New Album ‘Arrows Of Desire’ Inspired By The Pixies

Matthew Good

Matthew Good

Matthew Good has never played coy about what influences his music. Just ask him about Talk Talk.

I mention this mostly because he has a new album out called Arrows Of Desire and the Pixies played a pretty big part in its creation.

I know this because he told me as much for Huffington Post Music Canada.

You can read the story by clicking here.


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