Rock legends the Pixies wowed fans old and new with a nostalgic set at their Cal Coast Open Air Theatre Earth Day performance at San Diego State.

New York City band Public Access T.V. kicked off the early show as a crowd old enough to be their parents started to descend down the steep stairs into their seats. The barely legal frontman Jonathan Eatherly had a good time playing their post-punk power pop, including tracks off last year’s debut album Never Enough.

Beer and merch lines thickened between sets, as Pixie fans of all ages started filling in the amphitheater. The crowd was what you’d expect: middle-aged moms and dads that hadn’t lost their edge, millennials obsessed with anything that is tied to the 90’s, couples that had met while incredibly stoned watching Fight Club and hearing “Where Is My Mind?” as the world falls to pieces. These are the people whose life soundtrack contains a mix of dark and surreal with offbeat, poetic and ironic. Who simultaneously feel inner rage and outward whatever.

I was glad to see everyone get up on their feat, dancing in the pit or aisle, as seated shows can sometimes take a while to warm up. Pixies kicked things off with the popular “Here Comes Your Man” and switched back and forth between playing hits from Surfer Rosa and Doolittle and playing new tracks off 2014’s Indie Cindy or last year’s Head Carrier

Black Francis’s voice improves with age, his signature scream sounding perfectly on point. After the departure of two Kim’s, their relatively new bassist Paz Lenchantin seemed comfortable in the lineup and like a solid replacement. Song by song, you remember how many hugely influential songs they’ve produced and how damn good they are. Not a ton of theatrics, no stage banter, just rock and roll; something all of us could use more of.

By Amanda Martinek
Photos by Rachel Frank