Franz Ferdinand / Born Ruffians Lee's Palace, Toronto ON December 4

Franz Ferdinand / Born Ruffians Lee's Palace, Toronto ON December 4
Killing time before the January 27 release of their long-awaited third album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, the affable Scottish pop stars chose to hit the promotional trail and do select club shows to preview some of their new material. Pulling into Lee's Palace, a modest sized venue, the likes of which they haven't played over here in four and a half years, Franz Ferdinand made themselves right at home on the comfy stage.

Dressed down for the occasion, with the exception of stylish front-man Alex Kapranos, the quartet didn't turn down their arena rock-sized presence, however, churning out their chart-topping anthems with the confident pizzazz and skill they've always demonstrated. Moving back and forth between their breakthrough debut and follow-up You Could Have It So Much Better, every song was received by the rabid audience like it was a #1 hit. That said, when bona fide hits like "Do You Want To" and of course, their career-defining "Take Me Out" found early slots in the set, fans snapped into ape-shit Beatlemaniacs.

Surprisingly, their focus wasn't as set on introducing Tonight as much as I expected; only three or four new ones made the cut, but when they began the encore with new single "Ulysses," it proved anticipation to hear the new album in full is high. It must be said that "Ulysses" is a song that must be heard live: on stage it becomes a bigger, flashier, sexier romp, and boy do those filtered synths sound dirty!

For their finale, they dusted off the reliable "This Fire," which as the lyrics recommend, always seems to get out of control and burn this city, in particular.

Toronto's Born Ruffians were a last-minute addition that was a cherry on top of this intimate evening. The bustling trio twitched and muscled through songs taken from their awkwardly enchanting Red Yellow and Blue album as well as some new ones with more fluency than ever, making it a challenging task for the headliners to try and top them.

Of course, Franz Ferdinand went on to do just that, but even the Scots gave it up to the young Torontonians for setting the stage and making the night so much better, just like they promised us three years ago.