Sunday, March 21, 2004

Sorry for the lacks of updates lately. Would hate for "them" to be right about me.

Went to a wonderful show last night. Franz Ferdinand at Slim's, with support from The Tyde, who also happened to kick ass last night.

Slim's is a pretty little room; not extravagantly designed (The Filmore) or really cozy (Bimbo's 365) or huge (The Warfield); nope, just a room. Big-ass dance-floor, a bar that stretches from the stage to the bathroom, a small second-floor balcony for rich-people, and a great sound system. Or maybe it was just the bands.

First up, The Tyde. California-style-indie-surf-rock done right. I have one of their albums, their latest, Twice, and its definitely some-kinds-of-fun. Look, I can't dislike a band with three guitarists. I just can't. Let's call it "The Radiohead Rule." They played some of their standards, the stoner/homebody-anthem of "A Loner," the wild "Crystal Canyons," and the interesting, if vapid, "Henry VIII." They were good, a great warmup band, but just like their album, got sick of them after five songs.

Then, after a long but obviously important break, Franz Ferdinand take the stage. Four skinny unassuming Scottish kids wearing plaid, hairdos from the 50's, 60's, and 70's respectively, and with so much energy, I kept wondering what drugs they were on (and where I can get some.) Listing the songs would be kinda pointless; they played their entire catalogue plus one new song. That's eleven from the album, two from a previous EP, and one new one. That's fourteen songs, some of them stretched a little, so that, more so than the Decemberists show I went to recently, this "concert" became a "party."

Let me try and explain this next point, a very rare occurrence. They sounded better live than the album. That's pretty damn amazing. The album itself is not the most brilliantly produced album ever, yet it has a simple, crisp, sound. Live, the sound morphed into more of an emotional ruckus. The rhythm guitarist had this slap-happy way of playing that gave a subtle weight to the infectious riffs that Franz Ferdinand will be remembered for. Their big single, "Take Me Out," which moved the audience to finally move, had some real breath to it. Their songs, though straightforward-indie-rock, have very interesting breaks and pauses. And since it seemed that a lot of people in the audience were real fans, those pauses took on a dramatic weight. Songs like "40ft", "Come On Home", and "Auf Asche" were exhilaratingly gorgeous.

Really. I don't understand how they sounded so crisp, so clean, so fresh. (sorry outkast.) i've been to a million shows in my life, most disappoint, some are fun, but i have to admit, the band usually doesn't sound as good as the album. And, for me, a production-quality-whore, that's almost unforgivable. Interpol, months ago, while they definitely "rocked the house," they did it with similar sounding songs and a little too calm and collected up there. Franz Ferdinand rocked out like they were being broadcast live on MTV; dancing around, the two guitarists jumping and swaying in rhythm; long interlude passages where the audience clapped or waited patiently, while the band gathered around the drumset, their backs to us, and then jumped up like ZZ Top out of a cake.

Ended their set with "Darts of Pleasure," their first single I believe. That song contained one of the aforementioned awesome interludes that roused the audience. We all knew it was coming to close and there was a tangible air of "We don't want this to end!!"

Another bonus point for this great band; their break between set and encore was, I kid you not, about 3 to 4 minutes long. that's ridiculous. That's not enough time for a pee-break. I've seen bands take ten to fifteen minutes to come back and "fulfill their requirements." But these guys were back before we knew it, jumped right into "This Fire," one of my favorite songs by them; the kind song that will end up as a central piece in a movie one day (I know it). And then, Fin.

Don't miss them if you have the chance. Tour schedule here for your convenience.

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