The Boston-based Pixies only lasted six years, and not one of their five albums ever cracked the top 10. But the band's trademark loud-soft-loud song structures (hence the film's title), abrasive guitar licks and bizarro lyrics profoundly influenced bands as diverse and popular as Radiohead and Nirvana; Kurt Cobain, whose "Smells Like Teen Spirit" easily could have been a Pixies' cut, proudly confessed that Nirvana was deliberately trying to "rip off the Pixies." The band's acrimonious breakup in 1993 was chalked up to creative and personal differences, notably between front man Charles Thompson, aka Black Francis, and bassist/indie darling Kim Deal, and all four members relocated and lost touch in the post-Pixies years. Thompson pursued a solo career as Frank Black; Deal and her sister Kelley formed groundbreaking girl group The Breeders; drummer Dave Lovering became a professional magician; and guitarist Joey Santiago started a family — and a new band — with his wife. In late 2003, to the rapturous delight of fans old and new, Thompson announced a reunion tour for spring 2004; tickets sold out in record time and for a brief moment, the Pixies were again a going concern. Matthew Galkin and Steven Cantor's affectionate documentary of the "Pixies Sellout" tour, which traveled across Europe and Iceland before returning to the U.S., begins in April, with a quietly tense reunion before a Minneapolis warm-up gig, and ends eight months later, with the band's final show at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom. In between blazing performances, the dead air and silent downtime produce a strong impression that we won't be hearing much from the Pixies in the future: Here are four people who either can't communicate, don't want to communicate or truly have nothing left to say to one another. Adulthood has taken precedence, and with it has come a whole new set of complications: Lovering's father is diagnosed with inoperable cancer midway through the tour, and Lovering begins drinking, popping Valium and screwing up on stage. Thompson, whose solo career never broke free of his former band's long shadow, learns he's about to become a father. Deal struggles with sobriety while working on a new Breeders album; Joey works on a score for a friend's documentary while trying to stay connected to his wife and newborn baby back in Eugene, Oregon. The film doesn't dwell on bad feelings, and anyone looking for lurid details won't find them. But fans will love the live footage of this still-powerful band ripping through a virtual greatest-hits set, from "Hey," "Gouge Away" and their signature "Where Is My Mind" to the slowed-down satanic surf of the Pixie's best song, "Wave of Mutilation."
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: NR
- Review: The Boston-based Pixies only lasted six years, and not one of their five albums ever cracked the top 10. But the band's trademark loud-soft-loud song structures (hence the film's title), abrasive guitar licks and bizarro lyrics profoundly influenced bands… (more)