Pixies Deliver Powerful Set To A Sold Out Moody Amphitheater

Pixies Deliver Powerful Set To A Sold Out Moody Amphitheater

The Pixies’ second Leg of their North American Tour ended at the Moody Amphitheater in Austin TX on 06/25/23. So many summer tours run through Austin during the hot summer months often testing the loyalty of fans. Today was no exception to this, the heat index soared past 103 degrees as the doors opened. Fans trickled in braving the Texas sun while being reminded by event staff to stay hydrated.

Bully Warms Up The Stage

First on the bill was Bully, an alternative/grunge band out of Nashville, Tennessee. The solo project of singer Alicia Bognano, Bully attacked the stage with aggressive fuzzed out guitars and a sweet raspy growl that took me back to early years of the grunge movement. It was really easy to enjoy their set. Making the most of the opening time slot, the band made a statement with their performance and helped win over some new fans. The closing song “All This Noise” saw Bognano abandoning her guitar in order to fully embrace the guttural roar that comes customary when releasing the demons of contempt.

Franz Ferdinand Keeps The Flames Burning

Franz Ferdinand took the stage next. I’ll note here that at this point in the day the sun was starting to cast long shadows over the venue which would have been great except for the mirrored high rise that sits directly opposite the stage blinding the artists and scorching the back of guests. But I digress. I had never seen them live and did not expect all the movement by frontman Alex Kapranos. Jumping, dancing, squatting, windmilling the guitar, there is no doubt that he is a showman who knows how to entertain. Admittedly I don’t know much of their catalog but that didn’t keep me from being glued to the stage. Figuratively, of course. This well polished band played a healthy hour long set that only paused for brief interactions with the crowd. At one point Kapranos removed his sunglasses stating that he needed a better look at how beautiful the people of Austin were. I blushed, or maybe that was just overheating. As the familiar opening guitar of “Take Me Out” started the whole amphitheater moved in unison and joined in a sing along with the band. As they closed their time slot with “This Fire” it was fitting that they sang “this fire is out of control” as the air continued to sizzle.

Pixies Ignite the Night

The Pixies took the stage at 8:45pm and went straight to business opening with “Gouge Away” from their 1989 album Doolittle. With 37 years as a band, they have an arsenal of hits and deep cuts to keep the music flowing as long as they want but unfortunately in most cases there is a curfew that must be followed. Impressively, the band consists of three of four founding members: vocalist Black Francis, Joey Santiago on lead guitar and David Lovering on drums. The addition of bassist Paz Lenchantin in 2016 has allowed the Pixies to continue pushing their legacy onward. Hearing Paz harmonize with Francis during Caribou put a smile on my face. This has always been one of my favorites of their collection. It was fun to watch the crowd ranging from Boomers to Millennials enjoy the performance as one. The Pixies are a generational band that have influenced many different artists currently on the radio and they push all the right buttons to connect people. As the set rolled and lights flashed, the memory of slaying “Wave of Mutilation” with my family on Rock Band came to mind. I could see I was not alone by the way guests were air drumming and moving to the beats. When “Nimrod’s Son” played, the crowd eagerly sang the catchy lyrics “you are the son of a mother f*cker”. In the midst of all the excitement it was easy to get lost in the music and for some maybe too easy to lose control. I witnessed an unfortunate attendee pass out for reasons unknown to me. Although the sun was down and there was a slight breeze every now and then, it was still sweltering standing amongst 5000 people. I can guess that heat was partly to blame but I would probably not be wrong to say that there was perhaps a little too much sauce involved as well. The event staff seemed a little disconnected to what was happening and it took three different people to come over with flashlights before one of them finally called a medic. In real time it always seems like time slows down but in actuality they had the situation under control within two songs which in Pixies time can mean as little as five minutes.

06252023Pixiesmoodyamphitheater 14 Noise From The Pit
Pixies Deliver Powerful Set To A Sold Out Moody Amphitheater 51

Back to the show. I was sitting with my BFF and his daughter and she asked me if I wanted to bet what the last song would be. I’m not a betting man so I said no, but in hindsight I should have gone all in. Her guess was “Here Comes Your Man” and not even three minutes later they started in on the crowd favorite. I could have potentially won millions but instead I’m still just regular. Another sing along ensued and we were sadly coming to the end of the night. The Pixies moved into an alternate surf style version of “Wave of Mutilation” which was neat. Following this was the all too familiar strumming intro to their classic track off the Surfer Rosa album “Where Is My Mind.” It’s hard to hear this song without immediately being taken back to the climatic end scene of the 1999 David Fincher movie Fight Club. A great soundtrack for a great movie. A song that we can all connect with at some point in our lives when we start to question our own sanity. The band sounded crisp as ever. As expected, the entire venue including the sidewalk squirrels helped sing out the final “ooh oohs”. I’ve always enjoyed singing this out in my home at an obnoxious volume but I forced myself to hold back from taking the spotlight. I sure hope that this iconic band felt the appreciation for playing this song once again for the gazillionth time. Closing the night with “Winterlong,” the Pixies showed that they had staying power that not many bands can claim.

A great night with a fantastic lineup in a beautiful city united by music. Seeing Bully live was fun and gave me the best seat in the house as I was able to sit in front of the stage for the full set. My first time with Franz Ferdinand was a delight that I didn’t see coming. The musicality and the chemistry between the band members was energetic and entertaining. This was only my second time attending a Pixies show and they did not disappoint. With a sound that’s so clean and polished I will be sure to catch them on their next jaunt through town. 

Melanie Martinez Brings New ‘Portals’ Tour To Moody Amphitheater

Melanie Martinez Brings New ‘Portals’ Tour To Moody Amphitheater

Melanie Martinez stopped at Moody Amphitheater on a hot Saturday night in Austin TX showcasing her newly released Portals album with supporting act Tanukichan. As the doors opened, thousands of “Earthlings” piled in, filling merch booths with snaking long lines. Undeterred by the Texas heat, the crowd eagerly anticipated Martinez’ appearance. Melanie Martinez has been on my radar for quite some time, I had plans to attend a show pre covid. However, the world stopped and many tours were forced to cancel including her scheduled stop in Austin with Sub Urban. I was ready. They were ready. We were ready.

Tanukichan Sets the Tone

Opening the night was alternative, dreampop artist Tanukichan. Born Hannah van Loon, this San Francisco based artist set the tone with catchy guitar hooks and driving beats from her rhythm section. Tanukichan is currently supporting her new release Gizmo produced by indie artist Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi. Sporting an Incubus concert tee and baggy white pants, van Loon was making it clear that she was not a bubblegum pop princess as she shredded her guitar. There was not a big stage production for the opener, just straight to the point music with the occasional “thank you” to the audience. Speaking of which, one highlight of the set was her version of Dido’s Thank You. What a great song! I had not heard Tanukichan before this night and I walked away satisfied with what she presented and have added her to my “chill” playlist. A good little appetizer for the main event.

Melanie Martinez Transcends Reality

The time had come! Melanie Martinez took the stage at exactly 8:25pm just as promised. The stage was set with drapery that resembled a giant moth looking down, casually framing the backdrop of vines and a large screen that would display various otherworldly scenes as the night went on. Martinez herself was adorned in a facial prosthetic and a pink hued bodysuit with earth toned accents that gave her an alien fairy appearance. Very unique to say the least. I have always loved her ability to stand out with her distinct look on previous tours but this was going above and beyond!

The concert opened with DEATH a song that lays the Crybaby phase of her career to rest. She has come to reinvent her persona and assures her fans that she is back to guide them through her vast imagination. With a focus being on the vocalist’s new image, the accompanying band members were set on the back of the stage leaving plenty of room for Martinez and her dancers to showcase their artistry through song and imagery. Rolling right into VOID, she kept the audience engaged by covering both ends of the stage while encouraging their singing along with her. The choreography onstage was well rehearsed and fun to watch the dancers fluidly work with the music and between each other. As the show went on it was easy to stay captivated by both the visual aspect and of course the relatably dark lyrics that Melanie Martinez is known for. I’m sure everyone has felt the chorus from LIGHT SHOWER – “But you make me want to plan out my last days on earth eating you.” Am I Right?

Before she jumped into MOON CYCLE she asked the audience if anyone was on their period and the place erupted. Now is it possible that everyone was indeed in the middle of their cycle or was it just an attempt for some guys to fit in with their female friends? I think the latter, but who knows? The stage was appropriately bathed in red light as the song played on. NYMPHOLOGY was next and felt like a giant sing along as most of the attendees knew every word. My favorite song of the album, EVIL followed. This song is easy to put into your own perspective. She sings about a love gone bad and moving past the psychological and emotional baggage that’s leftover. “Loving you was lethal, guess that makes me evil.” The show closed with three tracks only available on the deluxe edition of Portals. MILK OF THE SIREN is a powerful feminist anthem that spoke to this crowd of mostly female guests. It was a good ending to an amazing show. As an openly Bi artist, Melanie ended with her dancers holding a large pride flag and showing her appreciation for the community vowing to return next year.

Overall, It was a super fun night with an alien! Pop music is not usually at the top of my lists, but this was very enjoyable. At times it may have sounded a bit too polished but that’s understandable with all the dancing and the outfit of choice. Backing tracks can be useful in these situations as long as the mix is done correctly. Her team has done a good job and Melanie herself still has a great voice. The Portals tour is not one to sleep on. Ticketmaster needs to figure out how to take the scalpers out of the equation so more people have accessibility to these shows. The creativity and imagination of Melanie Martinez is extraterrestrial! Go see her, tell your friends!