Modest Mouse / Photo by Fally Afani

Black Francis and Isaac Brock are not men of many words. But the frontmen for Pixies and Modest Mouse do like to get right to the point.

On their co-headlining tour in Kansas City, they jam packed as many songs as possible into their sets. Between the two bands, there were maybe ten words uttered the entire night (all from Brock, who jokingly urged everyone to not complain about the sweltering temperatures while he performed in a full suit).

It felt like an even playing field, as far as the fans went. We saw just as many fans standing for Modest Mouse throughout their ENTIRE set as we did for Pixies (they were sparse for opener Cat Power’s set ONLY due to the heat while they huddled for shade where they could). Both bands boasted impressively long sets (Pixies boasted 25 songs!) spanning their discographies but peppered with covers– Pixies had a handful, including the Jesus and Mary Chain, while Modest Mouse covered The Cure.

Pixies / Photo by Fally Afani

On this tour, no two setlists from Pixies are alike, proving the band’s dynamic nature. And although there wasn’t any chit-chat, they still built a rapport with the audience by playing a little cat-and-mouse with the guitar on “Vamos” and getting folks to sing-along for “Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf).” Who needs chit-chat when you can lure the audience into singing?

The no-frills production design and the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants setlists made it feel less like a stadium show, and more like an intimate club gig (no small feat for a band so well known and adored over the decades).

Editor’s note: Cat Power, who was magnificent, did not allow photography on this tour.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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