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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 2 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 18
Franz Ferdinand gets it right again at The Showbox SoDo
Arts & Entertainment
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Franz Ferdinand gets it right again at The Showbox SoDo

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

FRANZ FERDINAND
THE SHOWBOX SODO
April 24


It's a little difficult to keep up with Franz Ferdinand. They've put out just two albums in eight years, they tour sporadically, they're not active on social media and they quietly release new singles and music videos. But their fans adore them, and will track them down. Case in point: 1500 of them packed The Showbox SoDo last week to welcome the Scottish rock group back to Seattle, and it was a diverse bunch at that - Gay, straight, young, middle-aged, drunk, sober.

The Mercury Music Prize winners opened a 90-minute set with 'Bullet,' a track from 2013's Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action album. Immediately noticeable was lead singer Alex Kapranos' spiky hair, a bit messier than usual, and a vintage shaggy do (or don't) worn by guitarist Nick McCarthy, who also donned an oversized jacket-vest. (He reminded me of that 'Gilligan's Island' episode with the faux rock band The Mosquitoes.)

'Seattle, it's good to see you!' said Kapranos to the capacity audience. And that was it. Kapranos kept verbal interaction with the crowd at a minimum, although he did engage with concert goers by inviting them to sing along and clap their hands throughout the show.

Franz Ferdinand played a great mix of songs from each of their four recordings, reaching back to 2004's self-titled debut for 'Dark of the Matinee,' 'Tell Her Tonight' and 'Michael,' which had been booted off the set list the previous few times I'd seen them.

Fresher material sounded really good, too, like a sprightly version of 'Love Illumination' and a rather impressive rendition of 'Evil Eye' that featured sharply synced guitars and drums. I absolutely loved the danceable guitar riff during 'Stand on the Horizon.' The lone number that didn't work too well was 'Brief Encounters.' It lacked energy, though it gave me an opportunity to update my Facebook status.

Of course, no Franz Ferdinand live concert would be complete without 'Take Me Out,' and on Thursday night it lit a match underneath everyone's shoes, as everybody was moving, shaking, bouncing and even moshing to it. Ditto for 'This Fire,' another cut from their first album. Even better was a playful, heavy keyboard-infused performance of 'Ulysses' from 2009.

'The Fallen' closed out the main set, but the Glasgow quartet were called back to the stage by eager fans. A quick encore included a fun run-through of 'Right Action,' before the band took a collective bow and raised their hands in appreciation of the very enthusiastic audience.

It's uncertain whether Franz Ferdinand will return stateside in 2014, and quite honestly the group's unpredictability makes it hard for fans to know what they'll be doing next. Until next time, assuming there is one, this will have to tide us over.

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