Welcome to Franz Ferdinand: The Gay Disco Years. The have always been a little flamboyant -- a good thing, I think -- but they've definitely turned it up since I last saw them three years ago. Alex Kapranos, decked out in some silk/poly-blend red and white cowboy shirt that was not the most flattering thing I've ever seen him wear, was going crazy with the eyebrow arching, spinning around on stage and generally and generally camping it up. (Nick, meanwhile, was dressed in some sort of bright red polyester suit -- not a leisure suit, it was more '60s-ish looking -- that, gauging from the amount of sweat pouring off his brow, was hot.) Not that there's anything wrong with that.
At first I thought maybe it's that Franz Ferdinand are so used to playing much bigger venues that they forgot to, you know, turn it down for a small place like Bowery Ballroom. But then they played new song "Your Favourite Lie" and it became apparent that musically they're become just a little more fabulous. "Your Favorite Lie" starts off with a piano riff that that sounds more than a little like Scissor Sisters' "Laura" and then somewhere in the middle goes completely mid-'90s club music. My friend Dorrit leaned over and asked, "Is this Haddaway?"
Then there's the synth-heavy, probable next single "Turn it Up" which was a glam-fest in a Goldfrapp sort of way. It sounded like a hit to me -- though maybe only in Europe. The other new songs played last night -- "English Goodbye," "Anyone in Love" and "New Thrill" -- were a little more typical of what Franz Ferdiand are known for but they all reflected this change in attitude. Album #3 will be very different. Which is a good thing.
I kid about the gay disco but this was such a good show. Everyone (audience and band) was just psyched that Franz Ferdinand was playing somewhere this size. At one point Alex stepped away from the mike and said with a big grin "It's so great to be able to talk to you without a microphone." The crowd went wild.
And this was a crowd that clearly loved the band. "Dark of the Matinee," "Michael" and "Outsiders" (featuring three people on drums and ended with a gaggle of dorky teenage girls jumping on stage) got everyone bouncing way more than "Take Me Out" which I think everyone OD'd on back in 2004. Still sounded great though. The set, just a little more than an hour long, was well-chosen, hitting the best points of both albums (though skipping singles like "Darts of Pleasure" and "Do You Want To?"), plus b-side "Shopping for Blood." Franz Ferdinand have great b-sides, I wish they'd play them more. I would love to hear "Lindsay Wells" or "All for You, Sophia" live.
MP3: Franz Ferdinand - All for You, Sophia
MP3: Franz Ferdinand - L. Wells
MP3: Franz Ferdinand - Favourite Lie (Live 6/9/2007 at the Grand Ole Opry, Glasgow. Kinda crappy boot, but you can hear the Haddaway-ness of it still)
Nearly every New York blogger was there Brooklyn Vegan (who went nuts for "Matinee"), Music Snobbery, Crackers United, The Modern Age, The Music Slut, Jerry Yeti, and more. Photo swiped from sweetsycophant Flickr photostream.