Frank Black

Frank Black

Frank Black

House of Blues, Orlando • Friday 13, October 2006

Frank Black

Ian Koss

We missed the opening act, Kentucky Prophet, due to a latent childhood attraction to Legos and the existence of the Legoland store near the House of Blues in Downtown Disney. Nonetheless, the crowd was enthusiastic when a black-clad Frank Black gave them props between songs shortly after the set began. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The club was sparsely populated when we got there, which was a bit surprising. It filled up some before the curtains parted, but it was never what I’d call crowded. Nice. Frank Black and some personal space seem to go together like coffee and mugs.

Smooth-headed and dressed in a black suit and shirt, the soon-shiny Frank Black led his capable band through a shortish set of Frank Black classics spanning his solo career and a couple of interesting covers. No Pixies songs, mind you. The man has class.

My familiarity with Black’s catalog is limited to a handful of songs and “Sir Rockabye,” a gem of a track off an obscure Hello Club EP (those need to be re-issued, Flansburgh). But I was surprised at how many songs I recognized off the stage – “Ten Percenter,” “Headache,” the smirking “I’m Not Dead (I’m In Pittsburgh)” off his new album, Fastman Raiderman. These were peppered with covers like Roxy Music’s “Re-make/Re-model” and Larry Norman’s “Six-Sixty-Six,” Black also credited that Pittsburgh song as being written “mostly by Reid Paley.”

Frank Black

Ian Koss

The date – a Friday the 13th, in October no less – seemed a bit conducive to the overall mood of the set. Songs about dying, living a terrible life, making bad decisions, contrition, regret, paranoia… it seemed like Black was making a mix tape for a death-row inmate. Whether that was intentional or not, it worked to great effect.

Frank Black

Ian Koss

Heavyset and shaved bald, Frank Black wouldn’t look out of place selling you tractor parts or running the latest PowerPoint on sales figures in the conference room. In this age of prettyboys, his presence on stage seems a mismatch, at least until he opens his mouth to sing. His bandmates – the legendary Eric Drew Feldman on bass, Duane Jarvis on guitar and Western Beat impresario Billy Block on drums – also looked distinctive, and played their instruments with whip-crack accuracy and ferocity. Drummer Block was particularly entertaining, grinning and bouncing his platinum Shih Tzu cut to the beat, often communicating with Black via grimaces. Black traded between his signature blonde Telecaster and an acoustic steel-string for his guitar in some songs, and Jarvis correspondingly put on his black Les Paul for something twangier (a hollowbody I didn’t recognize) in those numbers.

A handful of concert-goers wore Pixies hoodies and such, and I wondered what Black thinks of seeing them in the audience wherever he goes. His songs often carry part of that signature Pixies sound – the dropped measures, loopy chording and disjointed vocals – but it’s clear from this performance that he has amassed an outstanding body of solo work that will eventually dwarf his days with that band.

Frank Black: http://www.frankblack.net/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Halloween Nuggets
    Halloween Nuggets

    Halloween Nuggets (Liberation Hall). Review by Charles D.J. Deppner.

  • RoboCop Steelbook
    RoboCop Steelbook

    Computerized police work in 1987? What could possibly go wrong? Carl F. Gauze reviews.

  • Memoria
    Memoria

    Winner of the Jury Prize of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria subtly draws viewers into a connective reality shaped by the sounds and images emerging from the unknown. Lily and Generoso share their thoughts on the film, currently touring North America.

  • Say Goodnight, Gracie
    Say Goodnight, Gracie

    Lose a job? Eh, there’s always another one. Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • New Music Now 007: crêpe girl
    New Music Now 007: crêpe girl

    Episode 007 features new music by Jack White, Snail Mail, and crêpe girl, and 2 sweet Yoko Ono covers from Stephin Merritt and Deerhoof. Stick around for joy!

  • Hot Water Music
    Hot Water Music

    Feel The Void (Equal Vision Records). Review by Charles D.J. Deppner.

  • Watcher
    Watcher

    Chloe Okuna’s new thriller Watcher is an immersive journey into fear. Review by Phil Bailey.

  • From Here
    From Here

    A mass shooting changes the world, but not the people in it.

  • True West
    True West

    Two brothers attempt to get into movies without killing each other. It’s a close call.

  • In The Heights
    In The Heights

    A lottery ticket and a blackout shift a man’s life in the New York Hispanic community.

From the Archives