Photos + Review: Pixies & Modest Mouse @ Surly (Minneapolis, MN)

Pixies (Boston, MA), Modest Mouse (Portland, OR)
Surly in Minneapolis, MN
June 20th, 2024

And we’re back! And with one of the more odd shoots I’ve done in recent memory.

After my main camera body decided it was time to go to camera heaven at the beginning of May, I got propped back up on my feet and then encouraged to attend last Thursday’s Modest Mouse and Pixies show. Admittedly, I can’t say I’ve ever been the biggest fan of either band, my familiarity with both about the same, with “Float On” and “Where is My Mind?” respectively being songs I’ve listened to (and enjoyed) an uncountable amount over the last 20+ years. 

As much as I enjoy seeing my favorite bands play live, I also sometimes like to go into shows blind, or as blind as possible. There’s something great about walking into a space and being surprised at all the new music being played. Like watching a movie that the big twist at the end hasn’t been spoiled for you yet. “Dashboard” by Modest Mouse was the payoff in that aspect as I felt slapped in the face by it. Such a good song that had gotten away from me. It was the highlight of the night for me being up close for that song.

I was a slightly chilly, slightly wet rainy night out at Surly. This actually ended up being my first time out at this brewery. You’d think being from Minnesota I’d have been to one of the biggest breweries in the state, but nope. Paired with the rain was a not-so-enjoyable process of getting food from one of the many food trucks in the grounds. I had flashback to 2019 Riot Fest, when complaints for waiting in line and receiving food taking hours. I don’t hold any ill will towards the workers, as they were probably doing their best in the situation, but it was still a tad disappointing to experience.

Performancewise both bands were enjoyable and I liked what I heard, leaning more towards Modest Mouse than the Pixies. I know that the Pixies are an institution in punk and their fan base is super tight, but I just couldn’t get into them as much as the people around me (6000 of them!) seemed to. Which, good on them! Debaser was the big Pixies song I was hoping to hear, and glad I got to experience the band playing it well. Despite the rain, all people around me seemed to be able fun; the people that like the Pixies really like them and got into it, so the vibes were high. The bassist in me did enjoy watching new Pixies bassist Emma Richardson.

One thing I’ve learned in my almost ten years of going to lots of shows and photographing, is that not every show is going to be S-Tier amazing, and that’s perfectly okay. Let’s do without this requirement that shows have to have some transcendental value to them and us writers have to write about them in that sort of way. I saw a good show this night, and enjoyed myself lots. I could also see just how fun the majority of the crowd was having, and that’s good enough for me to recommend anybody considering going to go.

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