Black Kids and XX Teens

The Pixies are dead, long live Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV! Black Kids and XX Teens play Garage, Glasgow (February 10)

Generally speaking, grudges are bad things that – like tuberculosis sufferers – should not be held. But if the 15-year-old beef between Frank Black and Kim Deal that’s kept the Pixies from recording their (now definitely-not-happening) post-reformation album is responsible for the deluge of solo activity from their sometime-frontman, then peace and love are overrated.First up is a set of Cramps-esque horror punk from XX Teens. It’s ace, but in truth tonight, these arty Londoners are just a mildly diverting sideshow – when you support Black Francis it’s hard not to get swallowed into the background. Since re-adopting his old stage name, the former Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV has been busy: new mini album ‘Svn Fngrs’ will be his second release in under a year and, with rock’n’roll shows as raw as this, long may his purple patch continue. From the bargain-basement thrill of ‘I Sent Away’ – punk rock distilled down to its very DNA and played by lobotomised toddlers who’ve just discovered rhythm – to the melodic “Shamma-lamma-ding-dang”s of ‘She Took All The Money’, Black excels at taking rock’n’roll’s primary-coloured building blocks and fashioning them into something darker without losing any of the fun. And while from behind the ever-present shades – he removes them only once, to take a Hollywood-style ovation at the close of an otherworldly ‘Bluefinger’ – he seems to find the crowd’s adulation bemusing, it’s well-deserved. There is no need to pad out the set with old Pixies numbers – songs like ‘Your Mouth Into Mine’ and the downright nasty ‘Tight Black Rubber’ more than stand up on their own. And played like this, like an unstoppable force of nature, they’re irresistible.

Barry Nicolson