Better Than: Watching the Olympics.
Download: "Threshold Apprehension" from the official Black Francis Myspace page.
I would estimate that sixty percent of indie/alternative rock bands formed in the last ten years would directly cite The Pixies as an influence. Who can forget the closing credits of Fight Club with "Where's My Mind?" by the Pixies playing in the background. The enigmatic leader and voice of The Pixies stopped by the Detroit Bar with his alter ego, Black Francis for a rollicking good time.
Hello From Reno started the evening with their infectious brand of power pop tunes and stacked vocal harmonies that were influenced by such bands as The Kinks, The Smiths and most likely The Pixies. Matt Roveto (Guitars) channeled various Brit Pop guitar gods with ringing notes from his Rickenbacker guitar. I particularly enjoyed "All About You" which reminded me of "Girl Afraid" from The Smiths.
I knew prior to the show that Black Francis would stick primarily to his latest two solo albums "Bluefinger" and "Svn Fngers." "Bluefinger" is a concept album primarily centered around Dutch artist Herman Brood. "Test Pilot Blues" from the "Bluefinger" album had Black Francis weaving his tightly spun song craft as he tangled the audience in a web of screaming musical notes and catchy riffs. "She Took All The Money" has another trademark catchy chorus as the crowd happily sung along to the fact that "She took all my money, and hung me out to dry!" while Black Francis wailed away on his harmonica. A small bouncing mosh pit started to break out in front of the stage as the pace of the evening accelerated.
"Captain Pasty" barely clocked in less than three minutes as it was a barrage of furious guitar downstrokes making me realize that the song could have easily fit on a Pixies album. Black Francis continued to pay tribute to Herman Brook with a knock down drag out cover of "You Can't Break a Heart and Have It" that was twisted in a typical Black Francis matter. While it takes talent to sing in key, I was impressed Black Francis could scream in key as he often would often change his singing style. "Threshold Apprehension" was one of the highlights of the evening as Black Francis reached into the stratosphere for some upper register singing notes. I know Black Francis is critically lauded for his songwriting abilities but I am starting to think his vocal abilities are under appreciated. The chants for encore were deafening as the band walked off the stage. But in true rock and roll fashion, Black Francis left the crowd wanting more. I know I did.
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Personal Bias: I have a Fender Telecaster guitar just like Black Francis.
Random Detail: David Henderson not only plays the drums for Hello From Reno but also plays in Goon Moon which features Jeordie White of Marilyn Manson fame.
By The Way: Black Francis is heading out for a short tour of Australia.
Photos from the show coming soon.