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Black's penchant for the absurd - and downright silly - has been part of his complicated appeal ever since he sang "Nimrod's Son" on the Pixies' 1987 debut EP, Come on Pilgrim. But on his first three solo albums, tossed-off whimsy like "Whatever Happened to Pong?" diluted the impact of pop gems like "Two Spaces" and "Headache."

Black himself seemed to recognize the problem, and since 1998, he has stripped away all the excess

8pm, Tuesday, March 4
White Rabbit
2410 N. St. Mary's
224-9600 (Ticketmaster)
from his music, promising that from now on he will only record directly to two-track. The process seems to have re-energized him. Last August, he released two first-rate albums (Black Letter Days and Devil's Workshop) and SpinArt Records recently put out an import-only set of Black rarities called Oddballs.

Black's hit an elder-statesman sense of grace, his band is razor sharp, and if you don't go to White Rabbit expecting a truckload of Pixies songs (he'll usually deign to play a couple), you won't be disappointed.

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