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Franz Ferdinand makes life so much better

Orpheum, Boston, Oct. 15, 2005

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - In this day and age of flavor-of-the-month in the music world, Franz Ferdinand may be the exception rather than the rule.

Their megahit "Take Me Out" was all over the airwaves last year, and now it's all over television as it has been licensed for a commercial. The Glasgow, Scotland-based band received much praise for more than the song, however, as their debut earned many kudos as well.

The quartet released their sophomore disc, "You Could Have It So Much Better" last week. The big selling disc continues in the same danceable, lively and sometimes humorous bent as their debut, all to good effect.

Has much changed on the concert front for FF either? Not really, and based on their outing before a packed crowd, that's also a good thing.

Actually, one thing has changed for the better - the group is playing with even more confidence than they did on their U.S. tour last year, and the result is a more accomplished show.

First the music though. During their 80-minute set, Franz Ferdinand played just over half of the new disc and 8 of the 11 songs on their debut. The name of Franz Ferdinand's game is a bunch of songs that make you want to dance, rarely a problem. Quickly, as on "Do You Want To," for example, Franz Ferdinand sets the groove and keeps it going throughout with enough mode changes to avoid sameness.

The group mixes it up just enough musically to keep it interesting with basically a New Wave sound with nods to the Beatles thrown in. While primarily based on lively guitar playing either from lead singer Alex Kapranos or guitarist Nicolas McCarthy, both also occasionally hit keyboards for some needed diversity.

Kapranos clearly has developed as a front man as well. He's good looking, of course, but more importantly can put a song across and performs with greater confidence. He along with his band mates, put their collective energies into just about every song and don't necessarily just replicate what is heard on the silver platter either.

Franz Ferdinand also displays a welcome sense of humor in not taking themselves oh so seriously. Kapranos struck some big poses on stage, but one got the distinct feeling he could not have been very serious.

The humor came through as well in slightly over the top intros of the other band members, all in good fun.

Kapranos went so far as to "blame" bassist Robert Hardy as the reason they played "Take Me Out." ("This is for Bob who wants us to play this one tonight") Of course, that was absolutely on the set list anyway, and no, they did not play it as if they're sick of the song either.

And how serious could a group be when they have a line like "I love your friends, they're all so arty" in the very fine "Do You Want To"?

Franz Ferdinand has been a welcome addition to the music scene. If the music world indeed "could have it so much better," maybe we all can thank Franz Ferdinand.

Fellow Glaswegians preceded Franz Ferdinand with a 40-minute set that finally cooked with four songs to go. Prior to that, the two-male, two-female quartet, played a bunch of not very exciting, somewhat generic songs before finally kicking in with some harder edged music.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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