Concert Review: Black Francis at Grog Shop, 7/23

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Black Francis, Frank Black, Charles Thompson — call him whatever you like (or any combination of the above). It’s an unavoidable fact: Dude was in the Pixies. In addition to the five albums he made with those indie-rock pioneers, Black Francis has recorded more than 15 albums as a solo artist or with his band the Catholics. With a résumé boasting a lifetime of songs, he had a legendary discography to draw from at the Grog Shop last night.

Bill Fox, member of '90s local rockers the Mice opened with a heavily influenced Dylan-esque style of politico folk. Fox plowed through a half-hour’s worth of songs, barely stopping to breathe, take a sip from his tall can of PBR or even say "thanks." His songs were based mostly around simple cowboy chords, but no two of his melodies sounded alike.

Black Francis began his solo acoustic set with a strong one-two punch featuring the Pixies' “Holiday” and “Los Angeles” from the Frank Black album. Not so surprisingly, most of the crowd-pleasers tended to be Pixies songs like “Cactus,” “Velouria,” “Wave of Mutilation,” “Nimrod’s Son,” an underwhelming version of “Crackity Jones” and audience fave "Where Is My Mind?”

His husky grumble, coupled with his slightly distorted guitar, seemed unabashed and natural. Other memorable songs included, “ I Burn Today,” “Horrible Day,” “Tight Black Rubber,” “Bullet,” “Sing for Joy” and, after some crowd coaxing, “Six-Sixty-Six.” —Leanne Butkovic

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