Concert Review: Rock bands Pixies, Hives dazzle fans in Tel Aviv

Armed with white blazers and surrounded by bouncy sound men dressed up as black Ninjas, The Hives gave a spectacle like only they know how.

American rock group The Pixies perform at Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium. (photo credit: AVIHAI LEVY)
American rock group The Pixies perform at Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium.
(photo credit: AVIHAI LEVY)
Bloomfield Stadium, June 17
Bloomfield Stadium was shaken by the voices of thousands of people welcoming The Pixies and The Hives, as the two-day RockN’Roller Festival began Tuesday night.
Swedish garage-rock band The Hives opened the show. Armed with white blazers and surrounded by bouncy dancers dressed as black ninjas, The Hives gave a spectacle unique to their brand of music. Lead singer Pelle Almqvist jumped, scissor-kicked and stage-dived with furious energy, while his brother and guitarist, Nicklas, threw guitar picks and smiles to the crowd.
Other than the special energetic rock music they play, The Hives have their own way of interacting with the audience.
They speak to the crowd, both literally and metaphorically. When Almqvist wasn’t flying around the stage or climbing on amplifiers, he showcased a vast Hebrew vocabulary, using words like gvirotai ve’rabotai (ladies and gentleman), litzok (shout), and likfotz (jump). When he commanded the audience “shvu yafe” (sit down nicely), they obeyed and kept singing along.
There is no doubt that the highest moment of the night was The Pixies’s first show in Israel. The diversity in age among the audience illustrated how many generations of Israelis were deeply influenced by the band and their music. But after canceling their concert only two days before they were due to arrive in the Jewish state in 2010, in light of the Mavi Marmara crisis, and given the tense situation in Israel over the past few days, many fans expressed fear of a second cancellation. However, The Pixies arrived in Tel Aviv as scheduled – and gave an unforgettable show.
Almost as a contrast to The Hives, The Pixies were dressed in black and looked much older than the lively opening act. The band came on stage without saying a word to the crowd, not even a hello; they just walked on and started playing. After an hour and a half of purely electrifying hits like “Bone Machine,” “U-Mass” and “Hey” through “Velouria,” “Caribou,” “Here Comes Your Man” and many more, they then sealed the evening with the unofficial international indie anthem, “Where Is My Mind.”
The performance of Pixies singer and guitarist Black Francis was flawless. It went back and forth in emotions, from gentle and soft to fast and furious. Guitarist Joey Santiago ruled the instrument like a true master.
Drummer David Lovering didn’t have a second’s rest, and even left the drum kit to perform a deep bass solo. The absence of former bassist Kim Deal didn’t go unnoticed.
There is no doubt that she left some pretty big shoes to fill for the new bassist, Paz Lenchantin, though it seems the youngster is well-integrated with the band.
So yes, a lot of people were deeply hurt when The Pixies canceled their concert, some even angry. And yes, some voices raised the question, “Why aren’t they greeting the audience or showing any kind of gesture.” However, the band was jumping and dancing with an unrivaled sense of emotion, almost shaking the ground, proving it can still give an amazing performance while maintaining the true spirit of rock.