Published Oct 25, 2013Nearly ten years ago, Scottish indie pop giants Franz Ferdinand released their debut album, which catapulted them into unlikely international fame. With subsequent albums, the band have managed to maintain the bulk of their fans despite waning popularity with the mainstream. Yet, their Toronto date affirmed that the urbane Scots can still pack a 2000-plus venue close to capacity.
On the road promoting their latest album, the much-overlooked Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions, Franz Ferdinand walked out to a hero's welcome. The crowd didn't waste any time joining in, singing along to "The Dark of the Matinee," and about half of the set list. Frontman Alex Kapranos returned the love, confessing, "I love Canada. You always put me in a good mood," before launching into "Do You Want To," where they rearranged lyrics to, "Well here we are at the Toronto party…"
Showmanship has always been Franz Ferdinand's strongpoint, and despite an admitted rough patch in their five-year gap between albums, they've remained comrades and top-notch entertainers. Kapranos and guitarist/keyboardist Nick McCarthy jump, strut and smile regularly, and there was no end to their appreciation for all the love radiating from the fans. They even acknowledged it in song, when during "Can't Stop Feeling," they segued into a brief yet brilliant cover of the Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder classic, "I Feel Love." They matched that thrill with a tremendous performance of Right Action's "Stand On the Horizon," arguably their finest song written to date.
Bona fide crowd pleaser "This Fire" did its job, adding strobe lighting to the mix, though wouldn't it have been that much cooler with some actual pyro? Maybe it's not their thing, but the fans were overzealous when they took over the chorus of "We're gonna burn this city!" It continued into their biggest hit, "Take Me Out," which will forever be the band's signature song, and deservedly so. Having played it a million times, the foursome still execute it with the same enthusiasm as they did nine years ago.
For the encore, they kept the effervescence flowing, dropping their latest hit "Right Action," their first single "Darts of Pleasure," which still sounds like a Pulp/the Fall collabo to these ears, and old favourite "Michael," which inspired McCarthy to stage dive and continue strumming as he crowd-surfed. When he got back on stage he thanked everyone, adding, "Toronto you were fucking great!"
Really, it was Franz Ferdinand who were fucking great, once again reminding us that so few bands out there can outdo these Glaswegians when it comes to giving fans their money's worth.