Franz Ferdinand have always been a little left of the dial for audiences in America and their latest move has shown once again they are going to make the music they want to make, regardless if it catches on here or not. The foursome from Glasgow have teamed up with veteran Los Angeles rockers Sparks to form the new FFS, or Franz Ferdinand Sparks, for a fun album and tour and on the first night of the tour on US soil the six piece monster hit it out of the building.
Opening the evening up was The Intelligence with their post-punk rock that while good, each song seemed to just abruptly end. The breakdowns in the songs themselves were great and let the band show off what they could do, but the songs themselves were just ok. They fit into the evening perfectly as they have an early Franz sound to them. The band wasted little time and churned out song after song for their short set. The Intelligence might be from the West Coast, but their music took all its’ cues from English punk and art rockers.
FFS focused on their new collaborative album for the first half of the show. Alex Krapanos and Russel Mael traded vocals throughout. The band has come together beautifully and you wouldn’t know that it is two separate bands on stage, which is a testament to how great all six musicians sound together live. Anyone can sound good on a record, but the greats can reproduce it live. The show wasn’t close to a sellout, but the faithful who were there were on their feet for the entirety of the 18 songs that the band played. “Save Me From Myself,” “So Desu Ne” and opener “Johnny Delusional” were some of the highlights of the new album that came out earlier this year.
The light show kept the beautiful Orpheum Theatre lit all evening. The only problem with the venue was the security seemed to be a little over zealous with making sure people put cameras and phones down. They also seemed to make sure everyone was in their seat and not even an inch into the aisles. I know safety is always being looked at, but considering the whole crowd was up and dancing I think its ok to let your guard down slightly, as well as letting some cell phone and non-pro cameras get their moments for their memories.
When FFS launched into one of the bands work such as “Do You Want To” or ”The Number One Song in Heaven,” the crowd went wild. The Franz Ferdinand songs sounded great with some extra backing vocals and piano, but it was Sparks’s songs that really saw a boost from the extra power mixed into their tunes. Ron Mael, the keyboardist of Sparks, played without showing any emotion all night, making sure not to break character for a moment. The only time he showed any emotion was during “The Number one Song in Heaven,” when he got up from his keyboards and busted out some great dance moves in the middle of the stage. As soon as he set down again the song transitioned into a fiery “Michael” that had Alex go through part of the crowd. The song is always great live and had a little extra punch to it in Boston.
Ending the regular set with a fantastic “Piss Off” is exactly what would be expected from the tongue and cheek bands. The three song encore had all songs segueing right into one another with a hilarious “Collaborations Don’t Work” to cap the evening off. All six members had at least one line to sing in the song and the smiles that were going across the stage from each of them was awesome to witness. This incarnation of the two bands will most likely be a limited affair, but with how much they are enjoying themselves, I don’t think anyone would mind a second round.
Article: Bryan Lasky