Pixies, Modest Mouse, Cat Power review: Where to buy tickets


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Sep 01, 2023

Pixies, Modest Mouse, Cat Power review: Where to buy tickets

Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission. The first time I heard the Pixies I was 12 and crowded around a desktop computer. A friend played a fan-made “Debaser” music video intercut

Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission.

The first time I heard the Pixies I was 12 and crowded around a desktop computer.

A friend played a fan-made “Debaser” music video intercut with Luis Buñuel’s iconic surrealist short film “Un Chien Andalou,” referenced in the song. If you aren’t familiar: the quick flick is most famous for exactly the image that Black Francis seizes on. Namely, slicing up eyeballs. At that point, the song was 20 years old, and it scared the s— out of me.

Ten years later, in college: After performing in a Pixies cover band, I walked from the top of campus to the bottom, listening to “Mr. Grieves,” an album cut from “Doolittle” on repeat. Probably 15 or 20 times in a row. I couldn’t stop.

That’s all to say: 20, 30 or 35 years on, at least as far as this heavily-invested listener is concerned, the Pixies haven’t lost their potency. In some ways, I’ve found, coming to a band’s catalogue a generation after the fact has its benefits. Divorced from the contemporaneous news cycles, Spin covers, NME pull quotes, fan expectations, minute-by-minute falls from grace, and eventual comebacks, the music must stand and impress, devoid of context. It’s helpful to be familiar with a band’s contemporaries – who they were influenced by, came up with, influenced; their larger place in the march of modern alternative rock, in the Pixies case – but not much more than that. Then, you put the record on and decide for yourself. Or you have someone decide for you when they play you a fan-made “Debaser” video.

In the years since the Pixies capped off their unimpeachable five-album run with 1991’s “Trompe Le Monde,” Black Francis and his bandmates have broken up, reunited, fallen apart again, gotten back together and released four disappointing albums since 2014. This summer, they’re embarking on a co-headlining North American Summer Tour with Modest Mouse, alt-rock icons one generation removed from Pixies, and Cat Power, indie-songwriter darling of the 90’s.

First: an uncomfortable acknowledgement. By merely signing onto this tour, all three acts are implicitly acknowledging their legacy-act status.

Imperial stage: Over.

Expectations: Lowered, somewhat.

Chance of releasing another truly revelatory album: Low. Possible! But low.

Percentage of dads in the audience: Greatly increased.

But I was no-one’s dad when the first chords of “Gouge Away” rang out from New York City’s swanky Rooftop at Pier 17 the other night (nor, for the record, am I now), and my immediate takeaway was still, simply: “This rips.”

Backtracking for a moment: the night began (early! If you’re a Cat Power fan, get to the venue when the doors open!) with a pretty, bluesy, too-short set by Chan Marshall’s Cat Power. If there was any lingering doubt that this concert was for the fellas, the 30 minute set reserved for Cat Power (as opposed to the headline-length sets both Modest Mouse and Pixies were allotted) got the message across. Granted, the tour is billed as the Pixes and Modest Mouse…with Cat Power (in a significantly smaller font), but I could’ve done with a healthier division of time between the first two acts.

Modest Mouse went on around sunset, still packed a punch, opening their set with “Doin’ the Cockroach,” off 1997’s “The Lonesome, Crowded West.” It’s a little funny to try to argue that Modest Mouse “played the hits,” but they did notably lean into their back catalog, peppering their setlist with only two songs released in the last decade, despite having released two studio albums in that time. Instead, the group relied heavily on cuts from their biggest record, 2004’s “Good News for People Who Love Bad News,” among other earlier- and mid-career releases. No complaints here. It’s difficult to beat the gentle opening lick of “3rd Planet” floating over into the East River one $17 Tecate down.

An hour later, after having secured my indie-rock star-sighting of the evening (The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn standing by the back), Pixies walked on to the strains of the Beatles’ oft-forgotten jokey B-Side “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),” and proceeded to wheel through a Best-Of set, featuring as many as nine songs from their landmark “Doolittle.” To my right, a man no younger than 60 in a golf polo bobs his head to “Planet of Sound,” to my left, two Hot Topic-style teens mosh among themselves to “Monkey Gone to Heaven.” My beer tab stands at over $40 (which, for those counting, means two), and the Pixies launch into “Debaser,” and it sounds just as good as it did when I was 12, which is to say: just as good as it did in 1989. Which is no small feat.

If you’re still on the fence about buying tickets, consider this: they will play your favorite songs. It’s a legacy tour. And those work great when the legacy is as good as the ones these three bands have left in their wake.

Want to check out the three-headed co-headliner extravaganza?

Here’s where Francis, Isaac and Chan are headed before the tour comes to a close in mid-September.

Want to see Pixies on their own? You can find tickets for all their solo headlining gigs here.

Prefer just Modest Mouse? Click here for a complete list of all their 2023 concerts.

For a closer look, here’s what the Pixies brought to the stage on Monday, Aug. 21 courtesy of Set List FM:

01.) “Gouge Away”02.) “Dead”03.) “Debaser”04.) “Cactus”05.) “Caribou”06.) “Something Against You”07.) “Isla de Encanta”08.) “Head On” (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)09.) “Planet of Sound”10.) “Who’s More Sorry Now?”11.) “There’s a Moon On”12.) “Death Horizon”13.) “Mr. Grieves”14.) “Here Comes Your Man”15.) “Motorway to Roswell”16.) “Monkey Gone to Heaven”17.) “I Bleed”18.) “Vault of Heaven”19.) “Hey”20.) “Ana”21.) “Bone Machine”22.) “Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)”23.) “Where Is My Mind?”24.) “Nimrod’s Son”25.) “Winterlong” (Neil Young cover)

Only going to the show for Modest Mouse? Here’s what you’ll likely hear live thanks to Set List FM:

01.) “Doin’ the Cockroach”02.) “Dramamine”03.) “We Are Between”04.) “Styrofoam Boots/It’s All Nice on Ice, Alright”05.) “Dashboard”06.) “Ocean Breathes Salty”07.) “Fire It Up”08.) “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes”09.) “Back to the Middle”10.) “King Rat”11.) “Bukowski”12.) “The Whale Song”13.) “3rd Planet”

14.) “Float On”15.) “Trailer Trash”

As noted above, Cat Power got the short end of the stick on the tour. Here’s what we heard of Marshall’s cover-heavy set when we saw her live (from Set List FM).

01.) “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (The Rolling Stones cover)02.) “He War”03.) “Unhate”04.) “Cross Bones Style”05.) “Manhattan”06.) “Mr. Tambourine Man” (Bob Dylan cover)

Can’t get enough alternative rock? Worried you might “Fire it Up” at the Pixies/Modest Mouse/Cat Power show and not be able to fire it down?

Check out five of our favorite indie rockers on tour this summer, from classic acts to newer favorites.

• Death Cab For Cutie with the Postal Service

• Weezer

• Beck with Phoenix

• Boygenius

• Interpol

Who else is bringing the hits to venues all over North America this year? Check out our list of the 52 biggest concert tours in 2023 here.

OverLowered, somewhatLowPossible! But lowGreatly increased“This rips.” Get seats. Earn rewards. Experience it live.