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Pixies and Modest Mouse impress with co-headlining show at Surly

The two alternative rock titans played to a sold-out crowd with support from Cat Power on Friday.
Image by Summer Rabold
The co-headlining concert is the first one to be hosted at Surly Brewing Festival Field this year.

Pixies and Modest Mouse’s co-headlining performances on Friday made for one of this year’s best concerts.

This was the first concert of the year at Surly Brewing Festival Field, one of the only large outdoor venues in the Twin Cities. While the crowd got rained on later into the evening, attendees did not stop having fun as they took in these memorable performances and enjoyed the outdoor venue. 

Amber Owens, 42, a fan of all three acts performing, was impressed by the venue.

“I was kind of wondering how they were doing it, I saw in the pictures on the website that it looks pretty packed at whatever show that was taken at, but there’s lots of space, a decent amount of restrooms and I love that they have a lot of options for food,” Owens said.

Tristan Knoblauch, 22, said he enjoyed his first visit to the venue.

“This is actually my first time, and it’s kick-ass,” Knoblauch said. “Right next to the Surly brewery, it’s a really cool joint they got here.”

Friday night’s double bill brought out fans young and old to see these alternative-rock legends.

Modest Mouse went on before the Pixies and performed an excellent set that highlighted their most famous songs like “Float On” and “Dashboard” while also treating fans to deep cuts like “Breakthrough” and “Night on the Sun.”

As usual, Modest Mouse was impressively dynamic as a live act. Whether it was playing a slower song like “Fire it Up” or a more aggressive track like “Satin in a Coffin,” the songs they performed had a good variety of energy and vibe.

Isaac Brock, Modest Mouse’s frontman and primary songwriter, was enthralling as he expertly played his inventive, intricate guitar parts while singing and yelping with commendable energy.

It remains clear that Modest Mouse is one of the hardest working bands in the industry, as they come to the Twin Cities just about every year like clockwork and put on a great show every time.

Afterward came the Pixies 80-minute-long set, which was even better than Modest Mouse’s impressive set — a testament to how great the double-billing was.

The influential four-piece packed over 20 songs into their setlist, performing one after the other with little to no room for stage banter in between.

Except for new bassist Emma Richardson, the band had the same lineup since they gained notoriety in the late ‘80s, and it is reassuring to hear the band perform their classic songs with the same vitality and energy they did on the albums in their heyday.

Frontman Frank Black’s booming voice and frantic guitar playing gave the band’s performance an outstanding level of energy, especially for a legacy act. Richardson was great on bass and impressively filled the absence of Kim Deal by replicating her original vocal parts on a few songs.

While the audience was hyped for the whole show, certain songs generated even more excitement. Once the opening chord of “Here Comes Your Man” hit, cheers from the crowd were abundant. Throughout the band’s most famous song “Where Is My Mind?,” many concert-goers sang along and got emotional.

With the amount of songs they played and their constant level of passion and energy, Pixies remarkably blew Modest Mouse out of the water.

With two great back-to-back headlining sets from Pixies and Modest Mouse, Surly has kicked off their summer concert season with a bang.

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