Pixies Return Energized With New Bassist

Paz Lenchantin debuts at tour warm-up show in Massachusetts

The Pixies perform in London.
Jim Dyson/Redferns via Getty Images
January 14, 2014 10:15 AM ET

The Pixies couldn’t have picked a more welcoming place to test out a new lineup. Last night at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts, the band played a 33-song warm-up gig that was essentially a hometown show for frontman Black Francis, who lives nearby, and a return to familiar territory for guitarist Joey Santiago — the two met when they were both students at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

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With the tour set to officially begin Wednesday in Toronto, last night's show served as a chance to fine-tune their live set since adding Paz Lenchantin on bass late last year. She joined the band as a touring bassist after they parted ways last fall with Kim Shattuck, who had stepped in when original bassist Kim Deal quit the band last year. Lenchantin, who has played with A Perfect Circle and Billy Corgan's Zwan, occasionally looked like she couldn't believe her luck. She grinned as she swung the neck of her bass on the sardonic "U-Mass," added sweet, high vocals to "Bone Machine" and threw down an overpowering bassline that rattled the entire building on "Bagboy," a song the Pixies released last summer shortly after Deal left. 

Black Francis was in fine, energetic form, too. He switched between acoustic and electric guitar throughout the show, singing in an unnervingly pleasant tone over chugging guitar on "Cactus," shrieking on new song "Blue Eyed Hexe," and locking into unison vocals with Lenchantin on "Subbacultcha." 

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Though the group played eight of the nine songs they've released since last summer – including three of four from EP-2, which came out earlier this month – they found plenty of time for their best-known tunes, too. Black Francis frothed and ranted through "Debaser" over Santiago's stinging guitar riff, drummer David Lovering played a rock-solid rhythm on "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and Lenchantin augmented Black Francis' sunny melody on the vintage-pop throwback "Here Comes Your Man."

After tucking "Where Is My Mind" toward the end of the regular set, the Pixies came back for a two-song encore that featured the "U.K. surf" version of "Wave of Mutilation" and "Planet of Sound." If this was a warm-up, it was hard to tell. 

Here is the Pixies set list:

"Wave of Mutilation"
"Head On"
"Indie Cindy"
"Mr. Grieves"
"Nimrod's Son"
"Another Toe in the Ocean"
"Ed Is Dead"
"Bone Machine"
"What Goes Boom"
"Broken Face"
"Isla de Encanta"
"Monkey Gone to Heaven"
"Crackity Jones"
"Gouge Away"
"Blue Eyed Hexe"
"I've Been Tired"
"Brick Is Red"
"Here Comes Your Man"
"La La Love You"
"Greens and Blues"
"Heaven"/"Andro Queen"
"Where Is My Mind"
"Wave of Mutilation"
"Planet of Sound"

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