If I were a girl, I would definitely want to have sex with Franz Ferdinand. Not all at once of course – if I were a girl I’d had have some class – but boy do these chaps have a hold on the art of appeal.
They took to the stage at the Greek Theatre in L.A. last Friday night after an under appreciated set from Brooklyn soul/noise-rockers TV on the Radio (who probably should be headlining their own tour) and thrusted their best hip forward, splicing hit songs from their self-titled LP with newbies from their much-hyped, now-revered and soon-to-be overplayed album You Could Have Had it So Much Better.
Feature vocalist Alex Kapranos flirted his way through an hour and a half of Ferdinand’s sultriest tunes and led the charge in exuding a confidence unmatched by any contemporary act. The only thing Kapranos seemed to be missing was Craig Kilborn’s hand-held mirror.
For better or worse, little is lost in Ferdinand’s transition from studio to stage. It makes sense they wouldn’t want to ditch their recorded format given their pop-rock inertias that cater so cathartically to a quasi-arena-rock setting. After all, it is knowing their style that has earned the band near-universal [[ok]] praise.
The buzz of the night surrounded Ferdinand’s new material from You Could Have It So Much Better. With the album having been just released earlier in the week to considerable critical acclaim, all the band had to worry about was getting the songs right. Pieces like “The Fallen,” “Do You Want To” and “Well That Was Easy” received the warmest welcome from the YCHISMB selections, but something about this social situation made a person just want to hear the old hits.
The abbreviated nature of Ferdinand’s songs afforded them the time to play eight songs from each album. “Walk Away” and “What You Meant” were two of the eight that proved to be natural extensions of their self-titled album’s hits, fluctuating between innovative hooks and lyrical understatement to facilitate post-modern dance-floor spaz-attacks.
Occasionally, Kapranos would replace a solo with muted guitar strums, a motif that worked well to provide proof that the crowd wasn’t listening to an Ashlee Simpson concert.
The highlight of the night came at the drawn-out climax of “Evil and a Heathen.” Guitarist Nick McCarthy and keyboardist Andy Knowles ditched their instruments in exchange for a pair of sticks and assisted drummer Paul Thompson in a synced orgy of percussion.
Kapranos didn’t have much in the way of small talk for the 5,000 on hand, but doesn’t that usually just spoil it anyways, ladies?
A majority of that crowd missed a set worthy of attention from TV on the Radio. Not quite as clean-cut or compliant with rules of pop accessibility, TV on the Radio hinted towards a promising future. Two new songs on top of their already solid song-base made those who did come early desperate for more. Lead singer Tunde Adebimpe spent most of his time on stage bending his back, howling to the moon, and by the end, his shirt had melted into liquid like the crowd before him.
Lead guitarist Kyp Malone sported a fro, a beard and a voice of tantamount cachet, inspiring this reporter to find a perm set for my beard and a pitchfork for my tenor.