LIVE REVIEW: The Big Moon, supporting Pixies, O2 Academy, Newcastle, 21 September 2019

The Big Moon opening for Pixies at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Being asked to open for a legendary band like Pixies must be an honour and quite a daunting prospect at the same time.

On one hand, you’re being asked to share a stage with a band whose quiet-loud sound influenced a whole generation of guitar music. On the other, YOU’RE OPENING FOR PIXIES!!! Gulp.

The Big Moon opening for Pixies at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

If ever there was a band who were up to the job, it’s London four-piece The Big Moon, who won a Mercury Prize nomination for their debut album a couple of years ago.

Love In The 4th Dimension didn’t win the prestigious award, but the very fact they were nominated was proof that their style of indie guitar music is fresh and a bit different.

The Big Moon opening for Pixies at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

Comparisons with all-girl Britpop bands like Elastica are inevitable, but The Big Moon have none of their jangle; neither are they as heavy as a more contemporary band like Savages.

Instead, they occupy middle ground, with their intelligent, well-crafted guitar pop carrying broad appeal.

The Big Moon opening for Pixies at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

The early arrivals for this Pixies show – and there were plenty – certainly enjoyed their all-killer, no-filler set, which opened with Silent Movie Suzie, one of the highlights of the aforementioned album.

Sucker, released as their first single back in 2015, was next, after which it was time to try out a new tune, Don’t Think.

The Big Moon opening for Pixies at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

It’s one of a handful of new songs The Big Moon have been road-testing over the summer at festivals like Glastonbury, Green Man, Kendal Calling, Benicassim and Latitude as they prepare to release second album Walking Like We Do on Fiction Records in the new year.

It’s Easy Then, released as the lead track last month, also got an airing, and they closed the set with latest single Your Light, which contains some sublime three-part harmonies.

Singer and main songwriter Juliette Jackson has a warm, beguiling voice, and she’s complemented perfectly by bassist Celia Archer, guitarist Soph Nathann and drummer Fern Ford.

The Big Moon opening for Pixies at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.

They’re musically tight, look like a close-knit gang, and appear to be having the time of their lives up there on stage.

Cupid, another single, shows why they were chosen for this Pixies slot, with its quiet-loud dynamic, while Bonfire is driven by a delicious bassline, and there’s no room for Pull The Other One, my favourite track from the first album, which shows the strength of their material.

If anything’s wrong with their set it’s that at just seven songs and roughly 30 minutes, it’s too short, but if that leaves you wanting more, and clamouring for the new record, that’s job done.

The Big Moon opening for Pixies at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Pic: Gary Welford.
Gary Welford
gary.ipamusic@gmail.com
ipamusic.co.uk owner