Out: Frank Black hits up Allston

Pixie gauged
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  October 26, 2011

THE HITS AND MORE! Yes, Frank Black played “Gouge Away,” but also some songs he’s written in the past 20 years.

Seconds into an overdue piss break, I heard a thing of beauty and relative singularity coming from the next room — Frank Black strumming the first few bars of "Gouge Away." I zipped up with dangerous haste, and dashed back into the at-capacity crowd at Brighton Music Hall, elated to hear either my second-or-third favorite Pixies song tossed out by its author, in-the-flesh. . .

. . . And then he fucked it up, apologized, and moved onto another tune.

"I have to play that song on Thursday, too . . . for the Broadway musical I've been in for the past couple of years," lamented Black, a/k/a Black Francis, a/k/a Charles Thompson, speaking of a looming Pixies tour kickoff in New Jersey.

To put the Pixies' significance into perspective, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is Kurt Cobain being not a good enough guitarist to play "Debaser" off the Pixies' 1990 magnum opus, Doolittle. So a typical performance from Francis's big-money band requires a more elaborate presentation than what we saw Saturday, October 22, in Allston: Francis (who mentioned that he'd been born down the block) alone with a guitar and microphone.

That anecdote about "Gouge Away" isn't merely a bitchy gripe about an otherwise phenomenal hour-and-45-minute one-man recital. It's also exemplary of that loopy "What do artists owe their audiences?" debate. The Pixies went temporarily tits-up in 1992, and haven't recorded anything new since. Meanwhile, in various versatile incarnations, Francis has unrelentingly cranked out new music.

So is it fair for anyone to feel cheated if they buy a ticket to hear him play "Where Is My Mind" and "Wave of Mutilation," and he opts to play songs he wrote within the last 20 years instead? In this case, it doesn't matter, because he totally played "Where is My Mind" and "Wave of Mutilation." It was awesome.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , Frank Black, Frank Black, Allston,  More more >
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