Austin has been in a ’90s time warp lately. Monday night marked the return of Billy Corgan and next week Stone Temple Pilots and Atari Teenage Riot make their way back to the Live Music Capital. The highlight of what unofficially seems to be “Remember the ’90s Week” is the back-to-back dates at the Austin Music Hall by the iconic indie-alt rockers Pixies.
Original lineup in tact, the Pixies are touring in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their groundbreaking Doolittle album. In what may be one of the best albums of all time, Doolittle gave us classics like “Hey,” “Debaser,” “Wave of Mutilation” and of course, “Here Comes Your Man.” Although a little older, the Boston-based rock icons showed the sold-out crowd that they still got it two decades later.
Before all the Pixies excitement began Tuesday night, fans had to endure the odd and seemingly out of place opener, Fuck Buttons. An English electronica duo made of up members Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power, Fuck Buttons created 8-bit video game style dance music using what appeared to be Casiotone Keyboards and MPC machines. With the lighting effects providing the visuals for their set, it felt as if the Austin Music Hall was the Music Hall of old, when raves were a regular occurrence in the late ’90s (Mad Hatters Tea Party, anyone?)
Sure, opening for the Pixies and playing in front of thousands sounds like a good idea for anyone, but Fuck Buttons proved it wasn’t, at least not in Austin. If you looked around during their set, there were a few heads nodding to the beat and some people sort of dancing, but most were politely waiting for it to be over. This was evident by sub-par applause Fuck Buttons received after their set was over. Now, that isn’t a knock on Fuck Buttons, as the dance music crowd put them on the map and makes up their cult following, but it is not a musical genre for everyone.
The Pixies took the stage while Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou played on the big screen behind them. Fans saw this bizarre and artistic imagery all night, as the quartet performed the songs from Doolittle in order, from side A to Side B. The Pixies began with b-sides and the visual of a record player or turntable behind them showed. They had their whole set visually based around that premise. It was very creative yet simple.
It was a breath of fresh air to look amongst the crowd and see both young and old get so excited about a band that actually deserves success and whose music is timeless. While lead singer and guitarist Black Francis barely said a word to the crowd, bassist Kim Deal seemed happy to fill the void.
No one was happier than the crowd at the Austin Music Hall, as they got to hear live their favorite Pixies album after who knows how many years, if at all, for most of these fans. After their main set concluded, an encore was inevitable. The band returned with some expected classics and a Neil Young cover. The only thing that could have made this concert better was if this were 1990 and we were watching the younger Pixies we first discovered in Doolittle’s prime. That and no Fuck Buttons.
Pixies and Fuck Buttons performed at Austin Music Hall on Sept. 21.