Written by James Dillon
Oct 11, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageThey are a few names in alternative rock that are somewhat legendary. Frank Black is defiantly a name that you would find on that relatively short list. From fronting the oh so influential Pixies, to a successful career on his own, the man has made a significant impact on music.

Black made his way to Houston with his band on Wednesday, October 11th and I was lucky enough to get to check out the show.

Having been a Pixies fan for a number of years I was anxious to see how the show would go. Would he play any Pixies songs? Would he still sound the same after all these years? Would it be a total disappointment? My questions would soon be answered.

I made my way into the Meridian a little bit before nine, in time to catch the evenings opening act. I was shocked that the big room at the Meridian was only a quarter full, if that, two hours after the doors had opened.

The opening act was a Kentucky Prophet from, well, Kentucky. Kentucky walked onto the stage with his mp3 player in hand and greeted the sparse crowd with “Is everyone ready to be disappointed?” Looking around the room I could sense that the majority of the audience was at least slightly confused by the opener.

Kentucky went into his first song, a rap song, and his style became clear to everyone. His raps were clearly comedy about things that the average writer wouldn’t even think to write a song about. Topics for his rhymes included being a valley parking attendant at the players ball, woman using men for crack, and selling drugs to celebrities. I won’t even try to explain the hilarity that was his forty five minute set, you will have to hear it for yourself. After playing several songs all but a select few were laughing their heads off, and some people in the crowd were even dancing. I would defiantly recommend checking out his music, though I must warn you; don’t be put off by his appearance and only listen if you are not easily offended.

After Kentucky finished up there was a short break between him and Frank. I took the opportunity to step outside and get some fresh air. The temperature was actually nicer outside the venue than it was inside. With the room not being completely packed, the lack of body heat left the venue feeling somewhat cold.

By the time I stepped back into the room I looked around to find that a lot more people had shown up to catch Frank Black’s set. The venue had also warmed a little and was probably about two thirds full. As soon as the lights and music went off, Frank Black and his full band took the stage to cheers from the crowd. The set started off fast and hard much to the delight of the audience.

It seemed like most of those in attendance fell in love with the Pixies and Frank Black during their college years when the Pixies originally toured and released albums. The crowd sang along with the songs that seemed to take them back to their younger days. During songs like “Headache”, “I Burn Today”, and “I’m not Dead (I’m in Pittsburgh)” the singing from the crowd was actually louder than that of the blaring pa system.

Frank actually sounded better that night than he did when I saw him with the Pixies a couple years back. The music was spot on and the group sounded great. The band played twenty songs back to back with little to no interruption between songs.

For those who only know of Frank Black’s work with the Pixies, his solo work is completely different. His music is more of the folk/country/rock variety as opposed to the noise rock created by the Pixies.

After an hour and a half of making everyone dance and sing a long Frank and his band left the stage. Without an encore the set seemed to end some what suddenly. But I really don’t think that anyone was disappointed by what they had just seen and heard.

At the end of the night all of my questions had been answered. No Pixies songs were played, his voice has held up rather well over the years, and the night was far from a disappointment. In fact, leaving the show I realized that along with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Spoon, and Spain Colored Orange, it had been one of the best shows I had been to so far this year.