This article originally appeared in the August 19, 2005 issue of the Boston Phoenix.
The Stairs may want to take notes on the Pixies, a Boston band who said goodbye years ago only to return in 2004 for what’s turned into a triumphant and seemingly endless reunion. At this point, the Pixies may even be the biggest unsigned band in the world. And that’s freed them to make a little money by playing to sellout crowds around the world, doing big festival gigs (like their “acoustic” set at the recent Newport Folk Festival), and selling many of those live performances as downloads. The first new product from the re-formed Pixies is due October 4, the DVD Pixies Sell Out (Rhino), with a 28-song set shot in France in 2004 and plenty of bonus material, including four songs from their Coachella festival gig in May 2004.
A week ago Monday, they were at the Paradise to shoot yet another DVD for Club Date, an Eagle Vision imprint specializing in live concert DVDs. (The first Club Date disc, Elvis Costello and the Imposters with Emmylou Harris, has just been released.) The DVD isn’t slated for release until September 2006. But to judge by the upbeat mood at the Paradise, there’s a good chance the Pixies will still be a going concern then. It did take them a while to warm up to the flock of cameras that surrounded them, so they took it slow, playfully banging out throwaways like “La La Love You” and an old folk cover they’d learned for Newport, before Black Francis traded his acoustic for a Telecaster, Kim Deal lit one of her trademark smokes, and the sweat started flowing as they bit down hard into classics like “Where Is My Mind?”
Back in the huge, air-conditioned video truck parked out front, a whole other show was in progress. “Give me a close-up of that, Brian,” director Mike Borofsky commanded through a headset as he sat before a wall of dozens of screens. “You read my mind, Mike…Watch your focus, Brian…Good, now look at those crazy heads bopping…Let’s get more of them, Danny…Good, good…Now let’s sweep in for a close up on Kim…Pull back, Brian, so we can see the drums…How come Kim gets to smoke and I don’t?...”
Back inside, the young heads were indeed bopping as the band tore through another nugget, “Debaser.” And Deal was still smoking.