Orlando, FL • July 27, 2005
As you may know, Florida has never been high on the list of priorities when it comes to promotional touring, so imagine my surprise when it was announced that Franz Ferdinand, named for the Austro-Hungarian Archduke whose murder instigated World War I, would be making a special trip across the Atlantic to film a live concert for MTV at Orlando’s Hard Rock Live. Not only that, but the show would be a full 2 months before their much-anticipated North American tour was set to begin. Their first appearance in this hot-forsaken state, a mid-summer night’s dream deep in the heart of tourist country… of course I had to be there to chronicle it.
The live tapings always begin with the same song and dance: a local radio DJ attempts to pump up the crowd so that the camera-wranglers can get their “crowd goes wild” shots. It’s one of the tiresome, though necessary, falsities of television performance. It’s also a bit like pulling teeth; this particular crowd wanted to scream for the band, not some middle aged radio personality with a microphone. Moments later they got their chance as Franz Ferdinand greeted the hungry crowd of Central Florida, and launched into “Michael” (a celebratory song about a gay crush). It was a bold choice of opening songs that had everyone bouncing.
Singer/guitarist Alex Kapranos, who strikingly resembles Kids in the Hall member Dave Foley, had the crowd in his hands as he led the band through a hit parade of songs including “Tell Her Tonight,” “Dark of the Matinee,” and sing-a-long tune, “Take Me Out.” Sharing in the vocal duties, as well as the spotlight, was guitarist Nick McCarthy whose dancing guitar style perfectly accentuated the contagious rhythms of the band’s songs. The chemistry between the two founding members of the Scottish band is a driving force in the accessibility of the foursome’s music.
Included in the hour-plus set were a few new songs off
their upcoming sophomore effort (to be released in early October). So often a band’s follow-up to a critically acclaimed debut is disappointing, but the new tunes these Scots have been concocting sound every bit as irresisitible as the ones we’ve played to death on our stereos, iPods, and cell phones. One song to keep an ear out for is “The Failure.” I predict it to be a huge hit!
The elated crowd danced throughout the show giving the unheard tunes equal appreciation, which was rare for the typically short-attention-spanned audience who come to hear the hits. In a generation ruled by emo bands, it’s good to see a band like Franz Ferdinand getting some airplay and drawing crowds of teens.