Black Francis, Koko, London, February 2008
The ground floor of Koko is a little sweatbox, packed and heaving if you can muscle in there, but it is worth it, especially for Frank Black, now Black Francis again for his latest effort ‘Blue Finger’. I really, really liked the album, which was a kind of, well if not a total ‘concept album’ around the life story of Dutch painter and punk rocker Herman Brood, it certainly contained songs about him. Most of all - it rocked. This was Franky boy sans his Catholics band, and it was stripped back live to (I think) a three piece, so it was basic, tight and frenetic. He tried to yarn in between songs, introducing them, and fleshing out the narrative where necessary… yet that is a thankless task at a rock gig where loads of youths are lagered up. It was hard to take it in, and I admit I just wanted to hear the songs too: ‘Captain Pasty’, ‘Threshold Apprehension’, ‘Test Pilot Blues’, ‘Angels Come To Comfort You’, ‘Tight Black Rubber’ all showcase Frank just playing that guitar hard, ranting, raving… I reckon it’s the album that contains some of his best non-Pixies songs, and in a way the rawness of it was I think sounds like his first tentative steps back to reuniting Pixies longer term. I mentioned in a much earlier post (Day 18) how he did not play Pixies tunes, despite shouted requests… well, by 2008 those fools were silenced, not only because his solo body of work was enough from which to bellow requests, but because we now had Pixies back together too. Awesome gig. Great to see him up there with such a small band, in a much smaller venue than where Pixies were now playing. Fave rack off the record is the stellar ‘Threshold Apprehension’.