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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Black-Breaking

July 13, 1993|MIKE BOEHM

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Former Pixies leader Frank Black could have scored a sure knockout with the near-capacity crowd at the Coach House on Sunday by playing some nuggets from his old band. But in terms of thematic purity, Black was wise to make the clean break with his own past. Whatever you want to make of the enigmatic lyrics on his first solo album, "Frank Black," they're fundamentally concerned with a restless desire for transformation and wonder, a yearning to shatter stasis and escape the familiar.

Relaxed and quipping easily for an audience that was willing to give him his head and not yell for Pixies stuff, Black, backed by a four-man band, played all 15 songs from the album, plus three new instrumentals and encore versions of "Duke of Earl" and the wonderful Kinks obscurity "This Is Where I Belong." It was a consistently strong 75 minutes that, in a thought-provoking encore, found the wandering sonic explorer pining for a home. Homeward looking or outward bound, Black's trail is fascinating.

Black also plays Wednesday at the Palace, Thursday at the Ventura Theatre in Ventura, Friday with The The at the Universal Amphitheatre, and Saturday at Iguanas in Tijuana.

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