The Albert Hall is certainly an apt venue for an evening of conversation with one of the most admired alternative music figures over the last 20 years, and more. Black Francis / Frank Black or Charles Thompson is an icon of the alternative music, yet there is still so much to learn from the man. Tonight Dave Haslam is the proud man who has curated this event and gets to ask the main questions and the excitement is heightened by the news that Charles will be performing at the end of the evening, but more on that later!

So the format. I’ve never attended such an event so was unsure what to expect. The stage is barren except for two leather backed reading chairs, yet the Albert Hall has a magic air about it and the audience, mainly middle aged and hanging on every word, provide the perfect backdrop for this special evening.

I’m guessing Haslam had over a thousand questions to probe at Black Francis, yet the warmth in which he delivers the questions and the reciprocation of that warmth in the answers make the journey obviously pleasurable for both the questioner and the audience alike.

Haslam sums the up what’s to come far better than I could when he asks kindly that the event not be videoed as “it takes away the magic and mystery of evening”. That is exactly what this evening is, magical as we hear Charles regale stories of his first UK tour with the Throwing Muses and Manchester being a “spiritual home”, his prophet like response to how lyrics are created and interpreted and the fact that the Pixies are just a blue collar, working class band. The mystery is created by the not really answered “why did Kim Deal leave?” which keeps Kim’s aura alive and yet the wonderful response of how tensions in bands are just there and they live in the creation of art, a very inspiring insight to how the Pixies work. The way in which Charles describes Joey Santiago (Pixies guitarist) is a testament to over 28 years of friendship, “Joey is The Pixies sound!” and also the insight to how Charles’s life created the personas of Frank Black (the American, normal artist), Black Francis (The artsy one) and Charles Thompson (it’s just a name – yet the reality is that music is in his name, his life and is evident for all to hear this evening).

Haslam allows the flow of conversation and asks pertinent, probing questions but in a relaxed and warm atmosphere. It was like two friends in a coffee house chatting over old times and this warmth flowed through the room drawing all in (except one idiot audience member who attempts miserably to spoil the evening!!).

The audience are invited to ask a few questions, one of which is from my very own 13 year old son which made me a proud dad to say the least. The answer to “what inspired you to pick up a guitar and inspire generations?” the answer… a Donovan record that he found when he was bi costal moving, I should imagine Donovan downloads and vinyl sales will go up!!!

The finale is an acapella experience by Black Francis at his “artsy” best!! A bottle of wine, lighting of the cork and parts theatre, parts killing joke, parts Pixies. The guitar stayed unused by the experience and the evening was unforgettable.

A massive round of applause for Dave Haslam, the audience and Black Francis, who provided a truly memorable evening of issues and tissues.

Black Francis Official | Twitter

Dave Haslam Official | Twitter

Im a teacher by day and a music lover all the time. I have promoted over 500 shows as Interkonnect including Get Up Kids, Big Business, Hella, Jim Bob, Clorox Girls, New Amsterdams, Juffage, Vessels etc etc etc. Im the oldest emo in Bolton and love Dischord, Vagrant, Jade Tree, Deep Elm, In The Red, Touch and Go, Southern Lord type labels. High Fidelity top five - Jawbreaker, Get Up Kids, Man From Delmonte, Ween and Descendents ( thats this week!!! ) - Hope you enjoy Silent Radio and what i have to say, love ya'll Ivan