Black Francis was one of the acts booked to play the Great Escape festival, which was unfortunately cancelled due to low ticket sales. The upside of this was that Sydney now had a Black Francis gig at the Metro – woo hoo! Everyone knew it would be nothing like the stunning Pixies performance of early last year, but it would definitely be bloody good, purely because Black Francis/Charles Thompson/Frank Black is such a cool dude, and one of the greats.
The show started pretty quietly, with Black Francis wandering on stage to perform in solo mode (featuring some Pixies classics!) for the first half hour. It was a pretty chilled out way to get things going, with the likes of Bullet, Los Angeles, Nimrods Son and Jane The Queen Of Love. The last 2 songs Wave Of Mutilation and Headache started a bit of a buzz around the Metro, with the crowd getting restless and ready to rock. And so, out came bassist Dan Schmidt and drummer Jason Carter to add some meat and potatoes (and backing vocals) to the gig and rock the fuck out.
The totally rockin’ set featured the bulk (if not all), of the songs from Bluefinger and When They Come Murder Me and Seven Fingers from Svn Fngers, which was heaven for those of us who have been keeping up (or attempting to) with the annual releases from Charles Thompson and his alter egos and know how shit hot these 2 Black Francis albums are. We were also treated to Frank Black songs like Get Away Oil, All Around The World and Dead Mans Curve.
Fan favourites Captain Pasty and Lolita were deliciously served up by Black Francis and devoured by the hungry crowd. Toss in Angels Come to Comfort You and the brilliant swamp rock of Test Pilot Blues and it became degustation time! It was a tasty night indeed.
As the show progressed, things just got rowdier and wilder, along with Black Francis who started to really rip into the songs. A definite highlight was the hard rock insanity of Threshold Apprehension, Tight Black Rubber and Your Mouth Into Mine. The manic energy of the riffing Can’t Break A Heart And Have It was really quite mind blowing.
It was a very workmanlike performance from Black Francis. Nothing fancy, minimal chatter, just quality music played by of the true icons in alternative music. The universe moved a little, and we were all the better for it.
Photo by: Will Fresch