After FEWS, Pixies main support on the UK leg of their “Head Carrier” tour, unleashed a blistering and ethereal set to a stunned crowd, fans waited in anticipation for Black Francis and co. to take to the stage. The Pixies are one of those rare bands that are completely unique in everything they do, their signature sound combines simplicity with brilliant song writing resulting in their specially crafted mix of unhinged punk rock and bittersweet melancholic anthems.

Francis and the rest of the band casually strolled on stage to meet thunderous applause, opening with fan favourites “Bone Machine” and “Monkey Gone to Heaven” the crowd erupted with waves of fans bouncing as the band commanded the Motorpoint Arena with their huge presence. What was in store to follow was a marathon thirty eight song set lasting well over two hours which was absolutely flawless. Pixies continued to roll out classic after classic with the likes of “Dead”, “Wave of Mutilation” and “Mr Grieves” all igniting a frenzy of moshing and drinks flying across the crowd. Even now in 2016, thirty years after the formation of the band, they still seem as fresh faced and enthused as ever giving their all into each and every song of the night.

If you can name it they played it, and along with the aggressive and wild songs they’re known for such as “U-mass” the Pixies of course showed their softer side that’s just as much appreciated by fans. After a quick guitar change to an acoustic set up and a dimming of the spotlights I think all fans knew what was coming next, and sure enough that infamous intro to “Where Is My Mind?” took the gig to new heights, the atmosphere was euphoric with what seemed like every single person in the arena belting out every single word. An unforgettable moment and a highlight of the performance.

Paz Lenchantin, the bands current bass player and the successor to Kim Deal who played with the Pixies up until 2013, filled the shoes of Deal without a doubt. The infectious hooks and harmonies of “Here Comes Your Man” sang by Lenchantin were amazing. I was pleasantly surprised with a new track from their most recent release, the song “All I Think About Now”, an ode to Kim Deal sang completely by Paz harked back to the early days of the band and could’ve easily found itself amongst the track listing of “Come On Pilgrim” or “Surfer Rosa”.

By the end of the set the energy was electric and closing on staple songs “Hey” and “Debaser” left the crowd craving more, Pixies were simply phenomenal having one of the best sounding and most lively sets I’ve ever seen, it was truly a surreal experience and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

Gavin Owen

The band plays their last show of 2016 tonight at the O2 Academy Birmingham.

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