I'm not going to lie, I initially wanted to cover this show to see Franz Ferdinand
play "Take Me Out," but what I got was so much more. Before the show, I listened to the band's new album FFS
(Franz Ferdinand, Sparks) and I'm going to do a mini review of the album very quickly because I hadn't heard it until now. It f***ing rocks. It is the definition of synergy, two groups coming together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. You don't have to have fond memories Franz Ferdinand's ridiculously catchy hooks or be aware of Sparks' intellectual double entendres to enjoy this album. Just check out the single "Johnny Delusional" and fall down the rabbit hole that is the new FFS album. That being said, I arrived at the show wearing my blowing off socks, and they were put to good use.
Let's talk stage presence for a minute. Before this show, I had no clue what FFS would look like...the "named after the dude whose death spark World War I" half of the group was four middle aged Scotsmen. They featured Alex Kapranos' towering stature and baritone voice along with guitarist Nick McCarthy, who totally nailed the Alex Turner "swagger beyond belief" look with greased up hair, a flowing blouse and his guitar strapped high on his chest, mainly using upstrokes. Sparks are brothers Ron and Russell Mael whose ages (70 and 67 respectively) only add to their character and deducts nothing from their performance. Russell has the vocal intonation of a broadway star and emotes with the humor and quick wit of a cabaret emcee. His brother Ron sat hunched over his keyboard, with the outward appearance of an well dressed (yet quite old) professional, waiting for retirement, who is totally fed up with your bullshit. However, he said nothing for the entire show. It made for a fascinating cast of characters on the stage. Alex and Russell passed the vocal responsibilities back and forth seamlessly, having an absolute blast in the process, proving that collaborations do work (in spite of what their new song may say).
When I had mentioned to friends and peers I was seeing Franz Ferdinand, the most common reaction was "Oh, they're still around?" Franz suffered the terrible fate of becoming too big too fast and letting their big songs get bigger than them, which is a terrible shame because I now see the fantastic potential and integrity they have. So to all my friends, yes Franz Ferdinand is still together and are better than ever. In fact, by the time they played "Take Me Out" it didn't even matter that much to me. That's how satisfying their new material is. Both groups are clearly doing something they love, and as an audience member, you can't help but love it with them.