Pixies @ Merriweather Post Pavilion – June 14th 2024
Pixies @ Merriweather Post Pavilion – June 14th 2024

Live Review: Pixies and Modest Mouse @ Merriweather Post Pavilion – June 14th 2024

Pixies and Modest Mouse share a musical DNA harkening back to their post-punk influences, so when they announced a co-headlining tour for this summer it made perfect sense. Modest Mouse were forming in 1993 just as Pixies were ending their initial run, but it’s not hard to imagine that they would have been compatriots in their early days had they overlapped. Both bands are just a little too quirky to be obvious candidates for the mainstream, but somehow still managed to break through and become two of the biggest “alternative” groups of their respective generations. Their tour together brought them to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD this past Friday night, and even the threat of strong thunderstorms (which fortunately failed to materialize as more than a light shower) couldn’t keep fans of the two groups from packing the venue.

After a short opening set by Cat Power, Modest Mouse took the stage. The band, who last appeared in the region for a multi-night stand at the 9:30 Club touring for the 25th anniversary of their breakthrough album The Lonesome Crowded West, this time played a selection of songs from across their most well-known albums (but notably not their biggest hit, “Float On”). Tracks like “Dashboard,” “Ocean Breathes Salty,” and “Bukowski” are classics of the genre, and though we’ve heard less from the band in recent years (their only release of the decade so far being 2021’s The Golden Casket), their performance was a reminder of how great they are. Unfortunately it was marred by a poor sound mix with overblown bass distorting and drowning out everything else for much of the set, and band leader Isaac Brock appeared at several times to be experiencing technical difficulties with his equipment.

Pixies, who first reunited in 2004, have been steadily releasing new material since 2014, with four albums to their name in that time. The band released their latest single, “You’re So Impatient,” less than two weeks earlier, so it may have come as a surprise to some that they didn’t play it. In fact, only one newer song – the yet-to-be-released “Vegas Suite” – made the setlist, while all of the others were drawn entirely from the band’s first five now-classic albums. Not that this was a bad thing in any way, but it did seem a bit odd that the band wouldn’t take the opportunity to promote any of their latest work (with their most recent album, 2022’s Doggerel, representing their best post-reunion work so far). Still, fans were almost certainly thrilled that, in addition to the obvious hits (“Here Comes Your Man,” “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” “Velouria,” amongst others), the group dug into deeper album tracks such as “Hang Wire,” “The Sad Punk,” and “The Happening.” New bassist Emma Richardson (formerly of Band of Skulls), on her first tour with the band, quickly proved she fit in, and took the lead vocal on the band’s cover of David Lynch’s “In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song).”

Despite the weather and the sound issues, Pixies and Modest Mouse together proved to be the perfect early summer night out. The tour continues across the US for the rest of June, with Pixies continuing on to Europe on their own in July and August.

PHOTOS © MATT CONDON

Modest Mouse

Pixies

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