It's not every day that we get to see two great artists perform on one stage, especially such influential musicians as Jerry Cantrell and the "Pixies".
Those who were present yesterday at Pavilion 1, Expo Tel-Aviv, had the privilege of witnessing one of the finest "alternative rock" derbys that Israel has known in recent years.
Not that we think they should be introduced, but on the right part of the field, we got the veterans and more experienced of the two rivals - the "Pixies". One of the most influential indie-alternative bands of the eighties and nineties of the last century. A groundbreaking band that changed the face of alternative rock and influenced artists and bands like Billy Corgan, PJ Harvey, "Blur", "Bush", "Radiohead", "Dinosaur Jr.", "Nirvana" and even our own "Mashina".
The left half of the field included Jerry Cantrell, one of the prominent figures in the grunge scene, who continues to provide quality material, either through his band "Alice In Chains" or in his solo career. Jerry took the stage reinforced by his excellent backing band which included, singer Greg Puciato, known among others as the frontman of "Killer Be Killed", "The Dillinger Escape Plan" and "The Black Queen", guitarist Tyler Bates, known from Marilyn Manson's backing band, drummer Gil Sharone, who previously played with "The Dillinger Escape Plan" and Marilyn Manson and bassist George Adrian who collaborated with guitarist Tyler Bates in writing material for the soundtrack of the cult film "Psycho Cop 2".
Let's start by saying that although both bands gave exciting and immersive performances, if we are to compare the two, the "Pixies" won this alternative "derby", despite the sound problems they encountered.
It's not that Jerry Cantrell didn't deliver the goods, quite the opposite! He gave an excellent performance and contrary to the claims regarding the performance he gave last night at the "Barby" club, the sound was good. The crazy energies could be felt in the audience and on the stage already from the opening song "Atone" - undoubtedly one of the greatest from his last solo album "Brighten". The sensations and pleasure grew stronger as we delved into the setlist, which gave us a balanced dose of "Alice In Chains" classics, Cantrell's solo career and his latest album. The first surprise came already in the second song with "Check My Brain" from the album "Black Gives Way to Blue" - Alice's comeback album and their first with William DuVall. The song wasn't played in the band's performance at the "Barby" club last night, which was a pleasant surprise since no song from the Duval period was played. Immediately following "Cut You In" and "My Song", two songs from his first solo album "Boggy Depot", the excitement in the crowd was immediately heightened, as the first sounds of "No Excuses" from "Jar OF Flies" were played. The next high point came with "Man in the Box" which managed to throw the audience in the air.
Here is the place to mention the wonderful vocals of Greg Puciato which sounded simply excellent and in our humble opinion surpassed even William DuVall, especially in the songs "Down in a Hole" and "Rooster" where for some moments we were able to see the spirit of the legendary Layne Staley floating above the stage.
This tremendous show ended to the sounds of "Would?" Who may have started everything for Jerry and "Alice" somewhere 30 years ago, with the release of the movie and soundtrack "Singles". The performance of this song perfectly summed up the overall feel of the entire show. Jerry and his backing band simply came to enjoy their last show, which closed the European tour, and along the way managed to give the enthusiastic fans one of the most beautiful gifts for the summer of 2022 - feeling 30 years younger for 75 minutes of magic.
The only downside that can be mentioned in relation to this excellent performance, is related to the early announcement of the production, according to which we are going to witness a full performance by Jerry. Contrary to this announcement, we got an hour and a quarter of a performance that included only 13 songs, without an encore, compared to a set of 21 songs that was played the night before at the "Barby" club. The songs "Bleed the Freak", "We Die Young" and "Them Bones" which was regularly part of the setlists in the current tour, were missing from the show.
After about 20 minutes of preparations, the "Pixies" came on stage and the victory in the alternative "Derby" could be felt already in the first seconds of their performance. The crowd flocked in and quickly ran towards the stage and the density was well felt in contrast to Jerry's performance. Already at this moment, there was no room for doubt. Pavilion 1 is the "home court" of the "Pixies". Their crowd dominated the venue and after the opening instrumental "Cecilia Ann" you could hear it too. It started with "St. Nazaire" from the album "Beneath The Eyrie" released in 2019. The audience simply roared the lyrics of the song which is not one of the band's "classics" in a way that left no room for doubt. The hall is full of a warm crowd of devout "Pixies" fans who came to sing, shout and rave
The band played a perfect setlist of 33 songs that included the classics from all eras. Starting with the masterpiece albums "Surfer Rosa", "Doolittle", "Bossanova", "Trompe le Monde" from the time of their classic lineup that also included Kim Deal, to the latest excellent single "Human Crime" released about four months ago and even the interesting cover of "Winterlong" originally by Neil Young, and taken from the band's b-sides album.
Almost two hours of a show where the band didn't stop for a moment, not even to say "hello" or "thank you". All the great songs were there. A huge celebration of all that is good about this influential band: "Wave of Mutilation", "Monkey Gone to Heaven", " Here Comes Your Man", "Where Is My Mind?", "Bone Machine" and more kept the audience warm and fired up throughout the entire show as he recited all the lyrics along with Black Francis and his greased gang. It was amazing to see the drummer David Lovering and the guitarist Joey Santiago who are in their 60s (well Santiago a little less) sharing the stage with the young bassist in the band Paz Lenchantin and maintaining crazy energy throughout the performance, until the tremendous "candy" that ended it - "Debaser". All this, despite the band's "posture" and insistence on not uttering a single word during the entire performance.
In conclusion, nothing to add, it was simply "Gigantic". Looking forward to more of these...