“I hope you are alright, hope you’re alright,” murmurs Black Francis early in the set, launching into ‘Mr Grieves.’
Minutes later the crowd is singing every word of ‘Gouge Away.’ It’s going to be a good night.
They arrived in Cork sweatily fresh from a blistering, sold-out show at Brixton Academy on Monday, with the social networks hailing their magnificence. We kind of take that for granted, but I’m sure the band doesn’t.
Despite their ‘reincarnation’ shows of recent years having gained global ‘bucket list’ status, their initial 1986 to 93 incarnation was great, but not deified like they are here today. Their after life is definitely more exalted than their first coming.
They’ve kind of crept up on an unsuspecting world over a deeply committed 30-year ascent from underground cult niche band, the ultimate festival warm-up act, to the top of everyone’s must-see list.
Well, certainly this Marquee crowd loved every magical second of it.
This looks like a very different set of people to those we’ve been rubbing shoulders with on most nights for the past six weeks. I don’t mean clothes and hairdos, more to do with passion than fashion, more attitude than hattitude. First off, everyone is either listening and/or rocking out. Very few, if anyone, chatting their way through the night, just waiting for the hits, as can happen here.
There are hits with the Pixies, but you’d be waiting. In a non-stop set that had anything from 25 to 30 songs (who stopped to count?), they did deliver some, though not all, of their radio hits: ‘Where Is My Mind?’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’, ‘Debaser’, ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’, and ‘Hey’.
No chat. None whatsoever, none on stage and none off. Just a burn through a string of two-minute and three-minute wonders. All about the music, and the musicianship. Lead guitarist Joey Santiago rarely indulges in what Eric Clapton would call a solo, yet he’s got an awesome sound. No indulgence either from Black Francis, bassist Paz Lenchantin, and no drum solos from David Lovering.
No frills, just epic songs. Sure what more could you want? Awesome.
Highlight? The crowd singing ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven.’ Tom Jones on Tuesday. Pixies on Wednesday. Misery on Thursday and every day until Marquee 2017.
And a word too to warm-up act, Bleeding Heart Pigeons, three Limerick lads we highly recommend you see. Ones to watch.