Saturday, April 26, 2014

Franz Ferdinand @ Commodore -- 04/26/14

A year and a half ago, Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand teased new material at a show at the Commodore Ballroom. It had been some time since their '09 album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, and that tease soon payed off with the release of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions last year. And now they were back in their full glory to show off the rest of the new album.

Starting off the night was Welsh singer Cate Le Bon. Her set started with some smoky folk songs, but as the set went on, the songs grew denser and more intense. "I Can't Help You" brought up the energy, and she showed off some of her guitar chops on "Falcon Eyed". The set climaxed with a huge rock-out song, which I didn't catch the name of, that was definitely the most impressive.
She put on a strong set, and had a great energy when playing, but a bit of a sleepy stage presence otherwise. She didn't say much besides thanking the crowd a couple times, and I don't think she even mentioned her name once on stage.

The lights dimmed and Caribou played over the loudspeakers as a test pattern was projected on the screen, and Franz Ferdinand took the stage. They spared no energy as they launched right in to their latest single "Bullet", and played an amazing set that spanned all four albums.
They included personal favourites like the cheeky "The Dark of the MatinĂ©e" of their self-titled debut, the chaotic "The Fallen", and my favourite from the new album, "Stand on the Horizon" with its swanky, hip-swaying ending.

With over a decade under their belts as a band, the four members are incredibly tight together and are all incredible performers. Especially Nick McCarthy went back and forth between guitar and keys, even lending vocals to "Tell Her Tonight", but especially Alex Kapranos, who strut around stage, dancing when not playing his guitar, jumpkicking, and generally had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. There are few frontmen who manage to simultaneously look effortlessly cool, while still showing that they care about what they are doing and are having fun.

Part way through the set, Kapranos spotted a request held up in the front row, asking the fan if that's what they wanted to hear. He then grabbed the sign, briefly showed it to the band, and without hesitation they launched into the requested "Darts of Pleasure". And naturally, there were massive singalongs as Kapranos offered the audience the mic to songs like "Walk Away", "Do You Want To" and, of course, "Take Me Out", the entire sold out crowd yelling the eponymous phrase as loud as they could.

They ended the main set with perhaps the best percussion breakdown in live music, all four members crowded around the drum kit for the explosive ending to "Outsiders". Obviously, though, they were back for more, and after "Right Actions" they burst into "This Fire", bathed in red lights, as Kapranos led the crowd in the biggest singalong of the night, like a minister leading his flock, even leaping into the crowd to surf while still playing guitar.
The wrapped up the night, an hour and a half after they started, with the most appropriate ending song, "Goodbye Lovers and Friends", leaving us with the parting lines, "Goodbye lovers and friends / you can laugh as if / we're still together / but this really is the end"

setlist
Bullet, Tell Her Tonight, No You Girls, Jacqueline, Walk Away, Stand on the Horizon, Can't Stop Feeling, Auf Achse, Fresh Strawberries, The Dark of the MatinĂ©e, Evil Eye, Darts of Pleasure, Do You Want To, Michael, Brief Encounters, Lucid Dreams, Take Me Out, Love Illumination, The Fallen, Ulysses, Outsiders.
(encore) Right Actions, This Fire, Goodbye Lovers & Friends.

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