Sunday, November 12, 2006

He Played a Pixies Set!
The last thing I expected from Frank Black was that he would play any Pixies songs, but he started out his concert on Friday night with an entire set of them. It was fantastic.
After a truly horrible opener by a dude called the Kentucky Preacher, Frank Black, looking rather fitter than I have seen him in most photos, took the stage to a roar of approval. He immediately started into the first chords of Where is my Mind and the crowd went wild, at which point, Frank stopped, snapped, "I'm not playing any fucking Pixies' songs" and launched back into the song. He then proceeded to play, not only Where is my Mind, but also Nimrod's Son, Wave of Mutilation, and two or three others which escape me right now. We were ecstatic of course, and all sang along joyfully.
Then his band joined him, a tight-sounding crack band, who kept it tight through the most intense, non-stop set I have ever witnessed. One song morphed right into the next, with no pause, no banter, no sips of water. It was exhausting just to watch.
I'm not really very well versed on Frank Black's solo work, so I can't tell you what he played, but he must have played about 187 songs that night. And he sounded really good.
The crowd was surprisingly (or perhaps not) shy of scenesters. In fact there were a lot of old people in attendance. I found myself glaring at them thinking, "hey what are all these old guys doing here, cutting in on our action", and then I realised they were my age.
But here I have a shameful confession to make; those old people lasted longer than we did. By midnight, Frank Black was showing no signs of letting up his brutal pace, and frankly, he proved to be a better man than we were. Shamefully, we left before the concert was done.
But it was a hell of a show.


668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i've been listening to 'i gotta move' off one of his many solo cd's lately.

where was the show again?

my friends and i always get frank black and bob mould mixed up when we play the have we seen them? and where did we see them? game.

Allison said...

That is very impressive he played so many Pixies songs (opening with 'Where Is My Mind, wow), and I love that he said 'I'm not playing any fucking Pixies' songs.' Classic.

I kinda consider it surprising that there was a lack of scensters. And, blasphemy, you left before he finished! No, I always have to take a catnap before shows, so I can stay awake. By the sounds of it, you got in tones of songs anyways.

Excellent review, you'd get a smiley face sticker if I was grading this.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was at the Mac Hall Ballroom, 668, which was a perfect size for the show.
I only have Honeycomb - what Frank Black (not Bob Mould, haha) cds would you recommend I get?

I know, Allison, I was gobsmacked. I was CERTAIN he wouldn't play any. I guess he figures it's best to give 'em a few and get it out of the way.
There were a few scenesters, including a jumping up and down wide-armed clapper, who I swear must have been Mitten Boy's cousin, but there were a lot of middle-aged leather blazer wearing folk too.
Yay, I get a smiley sticker, and I even forget to tell you about Giant Douche.

Deb said...


Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was pretty grand, Deb! He even looked like he lost some weight.

phlegmfatale said...

You bitch! You just burned out my envy chip!

Surfer Rosa is one of the best cds ever. One year it was in heavy rotation as my wake-n-bake music. Actually, wake is not accurate - I worked a graveyard shift and got home at 6am, so it helped me put my mind to sleep to sit and veg to Pixies. Them and Rain Tree Crow. Damn, those were golden moments.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I was really impressed with him, Phlegmfatale, and not just for the Pixies songs, although those were certainly the icing on the cake. He's a really good performer.

Ben Heller said...

Barb, you are lucky. I've read numerous interviews and he's said he won't do Pixies numbers, and I know he's done recent gigs where he's played only his own stuff.

I guess maybe he thought he'd treat his discerning more mature audience to some of his legendary stuff and keep the new stuff for the scenesters.

Will said...

Wow, what a performer he is. I'm glad he played Pixies tunes - I mean, that is a huge part of his songwriting career. You really cannot leave the past behind. I am not well versed in his solo work either, but I do like what I've heard. I believe there is quite a bit of it, which probably accounts for the long-ass set. Wonder how long he played overall ... sounds just great, though.

mellowlee said...

Great review Barb! I would have been exhausted watching him. I would have gone home early too, especially as you didn't even feel like going anywhere that night. My motto is always leave while you are still having fun! Sounds like a great night!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That's it, Ben, yeah that's right, it was done for us mature discerning audience members. I was flabbergasted, but really pleased.

I'll bet he's still playing, Will.
If I'm not mistaken, I think he has about 12 solo albums, so yes he's got a huge catalogue from which to choose. I have heard him admit that the Pixies reunion tour was a very good thing financially, so I think he is starting to realize you can't talk shit about what makes you money.

That's a great motto, Mel. I guess I actually did pretty well, comsidering I didn't want to go out that night. Thanks for making me feel less like a whimp.

kees said...

Sounds brilliant - I love it when a gig exceeds all expectations. Glad you had fun - and ace review!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks Kees, sometimes when you don't have no expectations you get the show of a lifetime. It's all a big crapshoot.

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i really like 'workbook' and the song 'see a little light'. oh wait, that's bob mould. :)

i'm only really familiar with his first three albums. and it's a toss up between his first one (frank black) or his second (teenager of the year). the song i mentioned is off of frank black and the catholics but i don't have the whole disc. just the one song on a cmj sampler.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks 668, I'll have to check into those cds.

uglybutterfly said...

I should have known you would go and see him! Great review, he ended the show around 12 with an acoustic singalong basically. The lack of scensters was so incredibly refreshing as well.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh no, we left the show about 10 minutes too soon! And an acoustic singalong. Argh! Sure am glad I sang along with Nimrod's Son then.
Thanks for letting me know, uglybutterfly; it killed me to leave before the end. It was a pretty amazing show, wasn't it?

Jacquie said...

Black / Pixies tickets are so hard to get here, and I tried.

Sounds like a great show. Those songs are staples in my household.

My sister and I are weird. When we were teenagers we used to answer the family home phone like a store
" Wave of Mutilation, may I help you?" This was pre-cellphones when playing with the family phone was a sport.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

" Wave of Mutilation, may I help you?" - hahaha! That's priceless, Jacquie. Makes me want to phone your house right now.

Sorry you couldn't get tickets. Hopefully he'll be back before long. Or Kim Deal, wouldn't that be a great show?