Black Francis @ Safari Sam’s, 10/15/07
There he is now on stage. He was Black Francis when I was introduced to him nearly 20 years ago. I’m fucking old. Black Francis became Frank Black. In 2004 he reformed the Pixies. Now, he’s apparently Black Francis again. Cyclical. Whatever the hell he calls himself these days (Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV?), it’s the same dude up on stage at the end of the day grousing about beers and cranking out inimitable snarly pop gems with black fingernails.
Right out of the gate we get “Rabbit” after an initial request to turn the lights up. “There are too many chord changes in this song, we need the lights up, then you can turn them down again.” Song ends and the lights dim, then we get Bluefinger, the new album, the rock opera as he calls it. Whole album is about some cat named Herman Brood. Wife Violet is sitting out the backing vox tonight due to unnamed illness and/or pregnancy, so it’s a trio thing. The new album’s pretty solid and he plays all the strongest numbers, including “Tight Black Rubber” and the Brood cover “You Can’t Break A Heart and Have It” which is really quite fantastic live. He swears “She Took All the Money” is not about Nina Hagen; for some reason, I’m not convinced.
Following this we get a handful of extras, including “Cactus” (!), not forgetting the recent live staple “Dead Man’s Curve” and ending with “Motorway to Roswell.” I get over a mild disappointment that he doesn’t cover Albert Hammond, Jr covering his own song “Old Black Dawning” – that might have been fun. My favorite number of the evening, though, is unquestionably “(Do What You Want) Gyaneshwar”, of which the sole studio version to date has been inexplicably released on youtube (link). Anybody who bothered to pick up Christmass or 93-03 knows this song, but tonight we have no acoustic guitar in sight and no punches pulled. As a result, after briefly explaining Gyaneshwar was a bit of a ruffian, but is indubitably the subject of numerous rock operas being drafted at present, he proceeds to tear the fuck out of this one.
He can be a bit surly at times, sure, but he still delivers a hell of a show.
Photo by Jeannette; more photos TK.
Related: Herman Brood’s You Can’t Break A Heart And Have It