Frank Blank and The Catholics, Astoria 2, London, May 1999
Birthday night out with Frank Black! Wahey! This was a potential high water mark of achievement too. Remember, this was 1999 and any thoughts of a Pixies reunion were still a few years away, so for someone like me who never got to see Pixies play, this was a coup, bro. Frank Black’s output as a solo artist, and later with his band, The Catholics had been pretty varied, using the whole width of the rock highway… but it was always that gosh darn unabashed “American-ness” that shone through. And occasionally that scream of his. I think I have to take my hat off to Frank for NOT playing any Pixies songs back then as well. He had a pretty good song book of his own, and he could have given into temptation (and all the shouted requests for Debaser, or Where Is My Mind?), but he did not. Pixies were well and truly resigned to the dust in 1999, and he just got on with it. Strangely, the gig ended rather early, I think the lights came up by about 10pm, and Frank made some puzzled reference to how they had to “…finish up early because of some disco or something.” The event in question was actually ‘G-A-Y’, one London's largest gay-themed club nights that often attracted performances by whatever pop star was cruising through town. So, several hundred Frank Black fans had to leave frustratingly early, turfed out because a crowd of, oh, at least, 7 scantily clad blokes were queued up outside waiting for the party to begin. Bizarre, but that’s the West End I guess - catering for all tastes. Though strictly not a Catholics tune, I've always liked ‘Ten Percenter’, here’s a live version.