Monday, September 27, 2004

the weather in the Bay Area yesterday, 9/26/04, was absolutely gorgeous: clear, blue sky and temp. in the 80s. so it was a great day to see The Pixies at the Greek in Berkeley. we started the day with a scrumptious lunch at Joe's Taco House in Mill Valley. the bay was blue and calm when we drove over the Richmond Bridge, and SF was illumined in silver and grey from the fog. and you know it is a very warm day when SF is enshrouded in fog.

Sunday was the last gig of a three-day marathon at the Greek for the band. and it showed a bit, in the hoarse voices of Frank Black (aka Charles Thompson; is he calling himself by another name this time round?) and Kim Deal. the banter, when Frank and Kim did talk, seemed to further a general pissiness between the two than genuine bonhommie.

but bigfuckingdeal to me. they rocked, oh yeah! Joey Santiago plays one mean motherfucking guitar, and the band crunched effortlessly between lite-pop to bone-cracking hardcore. this monkey done gone to heaven! and the crowd moshed with enthusiasm. well, Bay Area fans are not known to get violent, at least whenever I've been to shows. the moshing, ahem, I mean slam dancing (I've always favored the latter term; it is so much more descriptive and indicates my age, when I used to see Circle Jerks, D.O.A, Black Flag, Flipper, T.S.O.L. etc. etc. I slammed, or skanked. but I stopped that many years ago when I did a stage dive and landed on my head. when I came to a couple of minutes later my girlfriend dumped me, my buddies thought I did the most excellent dive since I seemed to float like a ghost before landing on my noggin, and the band playing stopped and laughed their asses off. oh well, fuckit!)

but it was the most polite slam dancing I've ever done seen. it looked from my vantage point like gentle pushing rather than the aggro I use to see in the Sac punk scene of the early 80s. all that is to be commended, who the hell wants to have a busted head at a rock concert. especially to this thirtysomething poet who paid good fucking money to see a great band at the top of their form.

Mr Black has put on a lot of weight, but he still screams like a banshee. Ms Deal can lay down one mean bass line. Dave on the drums kept the beat at skull-rattling intensity. the crowd roared its approval. the only complaint I had was that the sound was really, really shitty. it kept going out. that was a real drag, especially on blitzkrieg numbers such as "Dead" and "U. Mass".

but I'm a fan of the band. have been since the late 80s. they could have played their songs with plastic toys and I'd have been satisfied. there were two opening bands, didn't catch thier names, but I did catch both were from SF. the first band sounded very influenced by the droning compositions of Velvet Underground. my pal said they would probably sound better in the studio rather than onstage. I agreed. the second band was a nightmare implosion of 70s Grand Funk Railroad kitsch. good god, they were bad!

by the end my buddy and I were exhausted from sitting in the heat all day. all I could think about was a good meal and lotsa water. we decided to forego an evening stroll down to Telegraph straight to Moe's for books and instead bid Berkeley adieu for another night.