Concert Review: Franz Ferdinand @ 9:30 Club (4/11/18)

Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand (Photo from FB @officialfranzferdinand)

Franz Ferdinand lit the souls of DC!

The Scots known as Franz Ferdinand brought all they had for the sold out 9:30 Club crowd on Wednesday, April 11th!

With Alex Kapranos singing resolutely, they kicked off the show with the title track of their recently released fifth studio album, Always Ascending. The song could be about moving on and up if you can manage to wake from your dream. More on their new album shortly, but their next song was a frenetic and exciting rendition of “The Dark of the Matinee”, almost the best song they performed all night. Even a few of the overly eager ladies screamed in the front.

From the back of the stage, there were six huge beams of light that repeatedly illuminated the souls of the crowd (presumably). Franz Ferdinand picked up again with new songs, this time “Glimpse of Love” and then the audience bared their souls to the clap-worthy “Finally”, maybe referring to finally returning to DC (and playing at 9:30 Club again since 2004?).

As a band that makes new music, you might as well perform as much of it live as possible for the fans happy to see you. Always Ascending is good, but I won’t say it’s their best album. All told they performed eight (of the 10) songs from Always, and that mix of new material among the 18 songs they expertly executed seemed to go over well with the crowd. The only complaint I can lodge – they didn’t play “No You Girls”, and I would’ve traded that and a mere seven songs from Always.

Later they played “Love Illumination”, an upbeat ode to being the one in the meantime, ‘If you need somebody to love you, while you’re looking for somebody to love.’

Franz Ferdinand formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 2002 with a flourish of indie rock and post punk sounds. Later they added more dance inspiring songs. The band is currently comprised of Alex (vocals, guitar), Bob Hardy (bass), Paul Thomson (drums), Julian Corrie (guitar, keyboards) and Dino Bardot (guitar and backing vocals). Dino joined after long-time member Nick McCarthy left to focus on family.

They saved their more dance-worthy hits “Take Me Out” and “Ulysses” for the end of the main set, and by all accounts from the full body waving and jumping from Alex and the rapt crowd, everyone got want they wanted. Their take on “Take Me Out”, also their first hit, was definitely the highlight of the show.

They stepped away after “Ulysses” and came back for four encore songs. “Lazy Boy”, their newest single, is lyrically simple and catchy and the most enjoyable song from Always Ascending.

The guitars went to work for the rock anthem “Michael” and while “Feel the Love Go” seemed to last forever, the six beams of light honed in on a giant disco ball over the stage and splayed the 9:30 Club in radiant colors and motion.

They ended the fine evening with “This Fire”, where they sang ‘This fire is out of control I’m gonna to burn this city, burn this city’. At one point they tamed the crowd and had everyone sit on the floor (only the second time I’ve seen that at the 9:30 Club) only to jump back up in a blaze of ‘burn this city’ choruses.

We left happy and our souls still burning, as we went out into the city.

Setlist
Always Ascending
The Dark of the Matinee
The Fallen
Glimpse of Love
Finally
Do You Want To
Walk Away
Lois Lane
Darts of Pleasure
Love Illumination
The Academy Award
Take Me Out
Huck and Jim
Ulysses

Encore
Lazy Boy
Michael
Feel the Love Go
This Fire

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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