When the Pixies reformed in 2004, it was surprising how big a stir it caused. They were always a great band, but they’d split up over ten years previously. No-one could have predicted how quickly tickets for their new shows would sell out – their Brixton Academy shows were the fastest selling in the venue’s history – or how good the band would be after all those years.
Naturally, the new interest in the Pixies spawned several cash-in books, compilations and DVDs, many of which have some pretty good stuff in them. None of them, however, get quite as candid a view of the Pixies as 'LoudQUIETLoud', a raw, fly-on-the-wall documentary about the band’s reunion tour.
Other reviewers have compared the film to D. A. Pennebacker’s 1967 documentary about Bob Dylan, ‘Don’t Look Back’, which is a very fair comparison. Producers Matthew Galkin and Steven Cantor never appear in the footage, not even in voice-overs. All the words come from the Pixies themselves, and through this approach the award winning filmmakers manage to capture some of the people behind the Pixies. As well as the initial excitement and obvious friendship between the four members (however distant it may have become in previous years) we also see the families and hobbies that each of them has – Joey Santiago is working on a score for a documentary, and his wife is expecting their second child when the band first get together. Charles Thompson (aka Frank Black) looks overjoyed as he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant, and we see them visit an aquarium with her son, a happy little family. Drummer Dave Lovering is into magic in a big way, and has been doing gigs as a magician for a few years now. Kim Deal’s close relationship with her twin sister Kelley also plays a big part in the film, as it is Kim’s first alcohol free tour.
There are also awkward moments of silence before shows, tension over Lovering’s increasing dependence on valium and alcohol (brought on by his dad’s death from cancer) and the band’s growing weariness with life on the road – the time away from their families (you get the impression that Santiago had little contact with his newborn son during the tour) and the regular encounters with some frankly stalker-ish fans.
Despite their obvious communication problems, the Pixies win out in this documentary, coming across as a genuine and down to earth people – they just happen to be in a really great rock band.
Apparently, the band members weren’t entirely happy with the content of 'LoudQUIETLoud', but, after watching it, it is hard to see what they would object about. Although this has been compared to Metallica’s ‘Some Kind of Monster’ documentary, no-one comes across as idiotic or dislikeable as Lars Ulrich does in the latter film.
For us viewers, Galkin and Cantor paint us a perfect picture of a band on tour, one that looks past the glamour of our imaginations and into the boredom and isolation -along with the odd post-gig buzz - of reality