The Pixies - Comerica Theatre - 2/24/14
Photos by Maria Vassett The Pixies perform Monday night at Comerica Theatre. See more photos via our slideshow.
In the darkened setting of Comerica Theatre on Monday night, it was easy to close your eyes and imagine the floaty female harmonies are those of the Pixies' original bassist, Kim Deal. It wasn't, of course, as those harmonies belonged to Paz Lenchantin, a more than exceptional substitute for the fiery Deal.
In the early days of the influential rock band, Deal was crucial in driving the tension with her heavy basslines and countering vocals, which nicely balanced Joey Santiago's stinging guitar leads and Charles Thompson's (Black Francis/Frank Black) scream-filled outbursts.
There were more pleasant moments as well, like the warm glow of "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and heart-tugging of "Velouria"-- a couple of the band's more pop-like moments -- but really, the Pixies thrived on that tension and energy.
Moreover, while Lenchantin was excellent on this evening as the Pixies' current bassist, what she couldn't fix was the sluggishness of much of the newer material, which was recorded without Deal. It was during many of the new songs -- "Magdalena," "Blue Eyed Hexe," "Greens and Blues" and "What Goes Boom," among others -- that the concert was bogged down. The exceptions were the chugging "Bagboy," which, probably due to heavy video play, garnered more crowd attention and recognition, and "Indie Cindy," with its distant familiarity.
That said, it's not unexpected that fans might not know these songs very well, or want anything less than the classic post-punk thrashers and quirky rockers they grew up with, but it was undeniable that the early edge wasn't there. As the guy near me pointed out: "Slow new song equals pee break. Bye."