This monkey’s gone to heaven: The Pixies at the Paramount 11.12.09

The Pixies performed Doolittle in its entirety along with its related B-sides and a few other songs at the Paramount Thursday night. You can read my full review over at Crosscut by following the jump. Look for a photo gallery from the show later today along (UPDATE: Photo gallery is here) with another take on the Pixies Doolittle experience from yours truly in the coming days.

Black Francis :: by Dave Lichterman

Eyeballs were sliced, a car was driven into the ocean and yes, a monkey went to Heaven Thursday night as The Pixies performed its seminal alt-rock album Doolittle in full to an elated sold-out crowd at The Paramount Theatre.

But what does it all mean? Well, that’s a question that was left unanswered at the band’s 90-minute set. After watching the band play Doolittle in its entirety along with its related B-sides, I got the feeling the Pixies wanted it that way.

The influential Boston four-piece has been riding the reunion tour train since 2004 when they got back together after breaking up in 1993. The band has played several high-profile concerts in Seattle since (including a Bumbershoot headlining spot in 2004 and a Sasquatch! main stage spot in 2005) and those sets were all greatest-hits affairs, not a show that focused on one piece of the band’s catalog. This is what made the opening show of the group’s two-night stint at the Paramount so special.

The Pixies’ loud-quiet-loud formula has been aped by countless bands (most notably Nirvana) and while it’s difficult to declare one Pixies album better than another, you definitely can’t go wrong with Doolittle. You don’t get the whole Pixies package with Doolittle but you do some of the best the band has to offer in “Here Comes Your Man,” “Wave of Mutilation,” “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and others. The record helped introduce the group to the masses, the band is celebrating its 20th anniversary (hence the Doolittle concert), and it is held in high regard in rock-snob circles.

Hearing the album’s 15 tracks live and in order was akin to reading a book and then seeing the movie based on the book. A book lets you use your imagination and shape your own thoughts about the contents of its chapters, while the film creates a visual element you’ll always associate with its written counterpart. In this case the book is the record (but there is an excellent book about Doolittle by Ben Sisario that I highly recommend) and it is a mighty piece of art on its own merit. Doolittle live definitely added a visual flair to the record and I’ll likely not think of the album the way I did before the concert the next time I give it a spin.

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