Franz Ferdinand ::: Photo by Josh
I’m rather reluctant to catch most acts on a massive festival stage if I haven’t already seen them in a more intimate setting. In large rooms or outside, so many elements are out of the control of those tasked with making things sound good. In the case of the Rockstar Energy Drink Stage at Exhibition Hall during Bumbershoot, a mean echo was the wild card. For the Dead Confederate it sort of worked. For MSTRKRFT it was so loud it didn’t matter. For Dutchess and the Duke it was an unexpected gremlin. In the case of the Cold War Kids, who played the mainstage on Monday, they alternatively would have loved a few walls to bounce Johnny’s guitar off of. Slotted in the first Monday mainstage evening set in front of Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand on the other hand, was one of the few bands truly in their element.
At this point, on the road, these guys pretty much live in stadiums. And it showed. They owned the big stage, and just the fact that they were loud enough no matter where you were in the stadium made a huge difference. As soon as the first song began, the excited audience sprouted surfers. Franz busted crowd favorite “Matinee” out second and then all bets were off. After finishing my Stereogum photo duties and extracting myself from the pit and the hail of teenagers being hauled over the barrier, I spent a few songs meandering about in the crowd, trying to find the best place to listen from. Closer was better of course, but my eventual spot high in the stands near the back of the stadium was definitely good enough and I could really see everything.
Though they barely needed it, frontman Alex Kapranos expresses the perfect amount of prodding to really get the crowd into the call and response moments. And he jumps with his guitar more than anyone I’ve probably ever seen, never missing a beat. Big lights, huge custom amps, and the generally great showmanship and appreciation for the crowd amounted to an arena experience at Bumbershoot I wanted to remember. For me it was one of the top three sets of the ‘Shoot.
See all of my photo’s from Bumbershoot 2009 at Stereogum.
Now that’s a main-stage act I can get behind.
A bunch of other appearance announcements were made including funnyman Eugene Mirman and Janelle Monae. Also of note I suppose is that the Ting Tings were confirmed two weeks ago, but then canceled due to a scheduling conflict. (It looks like they are going on tour with Pink and will be at the WaMu Theater the following week.)
Bumbershoot 3-day passes are still available for $80.
Get passes and see all the latest details about the festivities for yourself at bumbershoot.org.
I understand if you are. The video for the single “No You Girls” from Franz Ferdinand‘s latest album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand just dropped and it’s fun. And if you’ve still got the will, watch it above.
In full, the song is a good song. Unfortunately we’ve been bombarded with this song, or rather remixed parts of the song, as a part of an iPod campaign for sometime now. In order to make it commercial-ready they modified the timing and the changes and mashed-up the song, condensing it in a catchy but unfortunate way. So now when I listen to the actual song I’m anticipating changes that aren’t there and feeling like a great song has been ruined for me before it ever had a chance. Yikes.
Franz Ferdinand starts their American tour in Seattle on April 13 at the Paramount Theater. Tickets are $32.50 and can be bought online.
Sound Bites – Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand
Published December 2006 by Penguin
Alex Kapranos, singer and guitarist of the band Franz Ferdinand, has done some traveling in the past few years. As a result of two hit albums with world-wide appeal this former back room prep cook found himself rubbing shoulders with all manner of folk at impressive (and unimpressive) restaurants around the globe. Sound Bites is a memoir of those eating experiences and Kapranos’ own adventures as a food preparer. It reveals a hilarious and sensory overloaded inner monologue filled with a wry perspective on people, places and of course food. He supplies an unending stream of short stories which may lead you to forever question just what goes into the preparation of your food.
Some of the stories were orginally published in UK newspaper The Guardian, so each story is no more than four pages long. One page your walking among the fish stalls of London, the next among the Kim Chi bars of Korea. Sometimes the stories will focus completely on the food, and sometimes the food isn’t the story at all but the unusual people he is situated with while consuming. Kapranos has a flair for capturing a complete sense of the environment he is in and the history that is defining the meal or the location for him. Each anecdote is transformed into a personal moment shared with the reader, an inside look at his thought processes and what led up to the moment.
It’s fitting that one story is devoted to visiting Anthony Bourdain’s restaurant Les Halles. Kapranos’ story telling style seems inspired by the refined raunchiness exhibited in Kitchen Confidential as well as in Bourdain’s general demeanor. Only the bravest attempt bull testicles and raw shellfish of unknown nature, and often his bandmates are less than pleased with his choices. For them each meal is a culinary adventure tempered by a simple longing for In ‘n Out Burger.
Kapranos’ descriptions of his past, and possibly himself preparing the very food he is about to eat at one of the numerous kitchens he was employed in, often leads one at the end of the story to wonder why he was eating it in the first place at all. He’s clearly unfazed any longer by the process for obtaining some of these delicacies. As long as it has the prospect of it tasting good or interesting, Kapranos is going to try it.