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Pixies rock Orpheum Theatre despite tight crowd

THE PIXIES

With My Dad is Dead.

Orpheum Theatre, Thursday, Nov. 29.

By SANDE CHEN

AS LOCAL FAVORITES the Pixies move into the major label arena, they progress to larger auditoriums, and more expensive ticket prices. Their departure from the club scene definitely leads to less intimacy and immediacy. Still, this is a great band to see live and well worth the decreased budget.

My Dad is Dead, four dull-looking people from Cleveland, OH, opened for the Pixies. Their music was too loud and too boring, and they took too much time conferring and tuning between numbers. The audience was pretty much unappreciative, even though the set got slightly better after the instrument changes. They played for about 45 minutes and then left.

People who had wisely missed the opening band began filtering in. After a short wait and dry-ice testing, "Cecilia Ann" signaled the curtain opening for the Pixies. Black Francis launched right into "Levitate Me" from Come On Pilgrim, and the popular "Debaser."

The Pixies continued their 29-song set with "There Goes My Gun" and the alternative hit "Monkey Gone to Heaven," both from Doolittle. The chorus from the audience could be heard clearly in quieter parts, as well as later on, in "Here Comes Your Man," another hit, "Hey," "Where is My Mind?" and "Vamos."

Next came the first single from Bossanova, "Velouria," followed by "All Over the World" and "The Happening." The strobe light made a one-time appearance.

For "Into the White" intense lights flooded the audience. Smoke traveled everywhere. It got very hot. Then, the tempo slowed for "Hey" and "Havalina," but picked up again for "Here Comes Your Man." Cheering ensued as Kim Deal performed the familiar and obviously well-liked "Gigantic."

Certainly, at any club (and at Citi, where the Pixies performed the last time around) there would have been more movement than the pseudo-jumping jacks in the front rows during "Dead." The strobe light kicked in with a guitar-enhanced "Isla de Encanta" and "Crackity Jones," both played incredibly fast, and continued through the equally hard-hitting "Rock Music." The crowd loosened up near the end.

The Pixies played consistently well and their serene presence held the crowd. They breezed through more Bossanova songs: "Allison," "Is She Weird," the subdued "Ana," and the ever-spirited "Dig for Fire." "Gouge Away" was electrifying.

Come On Pilgrim surfaced again to much approval and enthusiasm with "Ed Is Dead," as did Surfa la Rosa's "Broken Face." For "Hang Wire" constellations graced the screen, and during an extended version of "Vamos" the quick-paced beat began to take on the semblance of a war chant.

Black Francis took out the acoustic guitar and proceeded into "The Holiday Song." The atmosphere was getting rowdy. Kim Deal introduced the next song as one that no one had ever heard of, but soon everyone recognized the UK surf mix of "Wave of Mutilation." Almost everyone swayed to the oh-oh-oh-oh's of "Where is My Mind?" before letting loose to the final song, "Tame."

The audience stomped and clapped for quite a while before the house lights came on. A unanimous boo emanated through the theater, which was immediately countered by the Pixies playing an encore of "Wave of Mutilation," and so the audience's desire was appeased.

Certainly, the Pixies deserve their major-label status, and years from now, people will say, "Yeah, I saw them in Boston when they were a Boston band." Be sure to catch your chance.