PIxies and modest mouse deliver an evening of pure magic worthy of indie royalty.

Modest Mouse (Issaquah, WA) and Pixies (Boston, MA)
September 16th, 2023
Petco Park in San Diego, CA

When I first heard the tour announcement I thought, “wow, this actually makes sense.” Modest Mouse and Pixies sharing the stage seemed just perfect since both bands exude such raw gritty energy. I imagined one set would lead to the other effortlessly, creating a cohesive feel for the evening that so often is mismatched in co-headlining tours.

[Full disclaimer: I would still go see the Pixies even if they were to share the stage with Tom Jones in Vegas.]

Jokes aside, once the excitement of the tour announcement settled, I started thinking about the last show they performed here in San Diego. It was nearly one year ago (you can see the recap here: Pixies @ SOMA-SD) and I found myself doubting whether I should or should not go. See, that show was absolutely perfect. It was Pixies at their peak and I just wanted to leave perfection alone. I was thinking there was no way that the performance could be topped. I thought there was no way they could deliver a more raw and powerful set than they did that night. However, at the same time I have learned to never underestimate when it comes to the Pixies. A lesson I am grateful for because I can’t believe I contemplated missing out on a truly magical show.

Modest Mouse started the evening off with all the right notes. They took us all through a cathartic and emotional journey that masterfully navigated through the highs and the lows, with each riff and chord further pulling us in.

They opened their set with a hypnotic performance of “Dramamine,” the opening track of their 1996 debut album This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About. They then moved the crowd along to the present with “We are Between,” one of my favorite tracks off their latest release, The Golden Casket which got the entire crowd dancing and they kept the energy up with “Dashboard.” Only Johnny Marr joining them on stage could have made this song any more epic. Their setlist effortlessly moved through decades of beautiful releases throughout the entire 42 minute set.

I wish we could have stayed in the pit for one more song because I truly hated having to navigate the sold out venue through, “Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes.” It is one of those beautiful songs you just don’t want to miss a single note of or so I thought.  Some attendees have not quite figured out that they should not be having discussions during a live performance.  Let’s enjoy the music first, we can catch up between sets or after the show.

“Cowboy Dan,” “Fire It Up,” and “Satin In a Coffin” were other amazing highlights for me, as was seeing every cell phone automatically get pulled out to record “Float On,” a definite crowd pleaser.

They closed their set with a heart gripping explosion of rawness that literally overheated the crowd with “Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine” followed by “Shit Luck,” songs that perfectly stand as testament to the greatness of Modest Mouse as well as the heavy influence that the Pixies had on them.

No two other songs could have better lead the audience to the Pixies whose set proved itself more than worthy of such a phenomenal intro. They delivered a beautifully layered set that moved way past the one dimensional punk rock show, opting for a mature and well-balanced intricate weaving of: indie, punk, garage and noise pop that truly reflected the richness of their sound.

I really think this is something not too many bands can offer and has always been a great part of Pixies’ live repertoire. This has always hooked me to their live shows. They always deliver the unexpected, they always give you more because they have such a distinct catalogue that can easily withstand years and years of touring without sounding redundant. Every show has been a unique experience and every time I think, “that’s it, they can’t possibly outperform this one show” they somehow always do.

Pixies started off their set with “Gouge Away” from their 1989 release, Doolittle followed by the iconic “Wave of Mutilation” from the same album which instantaneously started the first singalong from the crowd. The intensity of the evening quickly grew with an explosive performance of, “Something Against You” from their album, Surfer Rosa and kept on pounding through “Isla De Encanta.” It was beautiful to see everyone in the crowd with their phones down just stomping and moshing, experiencing every note without the filter of a screen. At times it feels as if we have forgotten how to enjoy a live show these days!

Their amazing cover of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s classic “Head On” was next. This guided the crowd through another singalong that continued through my favorite song off Trompe Le Mode “Planet Of Sound.” The band moved fans through their contemporary sound, performing “There’s A Moon On” and “Who’s More Sorry Now?” “The Lord has Come Back Today” and “Haunted House” off their latest release, Doggerel which I would absolutely love to hear live in its entirety. “Pagan Man” would have fit perfectly here under the light drizzle.

“Hey” was enthusiastically met by everyone. I think half the crowd screamed every word while the other half hummed the guitar chords, it was pretty perfect and I have the bruises to prove it.

“Nimrods’s Son” is always always always a favorite song of mine. A big thank you goes out to the crazy fans around me that made it even more special and of course endured my out of tune loud screeches. “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Motorway To Roswell” were other beautiful moments.

I could list every single song as a highlight or special moment because that is just how mind blowing their show was. It was so perfect. I went home afterward and created a Pixies at Gallagher Square playlist just to relive it on demand a few more times. I mean all I can say is, I wish it would have been longer, I wish they had played for 3 hours if not 4.

Modest Mouse Setlist:
We Are Between
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
Cowboy Dan
Back to the Middle
Fire It Up
Satin in a Coffin
King Rat
The Whale Song
3rd Planet
Float On
The World at Large
Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine
Shit Luck

Pixies Setlist:
Gouge Away
Wave of Mutilation
Something Against You
Isla de Encanta
Head On (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)
Planet of Sound
There’s a Moon On
Who’s More Sorry Now?
The Lord Has Come Back Today
Haunted House
Mr. Grieves
Nimrod’s Son
Bone Machine
Monkey Gone to Heaven
Death Horizon
Here Comes Your Man
Motorway to Roswell
Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
Where Is My Mind?
Winterlong (Neil Young cover)

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