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ACL Live Shot: Franz Ferdinand

Chic meets the Clash in Glasgow
Tim Stegall, 10:28am, Mon. Oct. 7, 2013
photo by Sandy Carson
The eyes of Texas are upon you, Scotland, 10.6.13

Going by evidence presented all weekend at ACL Fest, of all the bands of their generation, Franz Ferdinand might be the only one with a sense of humor.

You can see it in the deliberately cartoonish oversized guitar amps with huge dials, knobs, and red lights erected in front of their actual backline. You can hear it as they morph one of their songs into Donna Summer's “I Feel Love.”

The Glaswegian New Wave revivalists prove a master class in taut, muscular rock & roll and how to engage and entertain even the largest audience. Franz Ferdinand was the one band I saw on the Samsung Galaxy stage that put on a calisthenic, action-packed show displaying an active stage presence with no light show or flashing video displays.

Leader Alex Kapranos’ stage banter was witty without any cliched “All right, Austin!” condescension. The quartet worked up a lean, aggressive assault that was simple but angular, dovetailing Chic into the Clash.

So engaging was the band, even songs from the disappointing new Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action took on a new life in performance. Once career-making hits “Take Me Out” and “This Fire” exploded off the stage, Franz Ferdinand owned this weekend. They’re true stars.

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