It’s been a long time coming, but Scottish alt.-rockers Franz Ferdinand are back in the States for a month or so, playing gigs and festivals across the country before heading home to record their highly-anticipated follow-up to 2013’s Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action. One of the first stops that the Glasgow natives made in the U.S. was at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, on the Sunday evening of Memorial Day Weekend.
Atlanta-based indie trio Omni opened up the night, with solid instrumentation and an energetic set overall. Their bassist and frontman held down the low end rather well, while their guitarist and drummer filled in the rest of the sound. FF drummer Paul Thomson even came onstage at the end of their set to play alongside them, a fun sight to behold. Consistently throughout their set, however, there seemed to be something missing. This was likely due in part to their bassist’s voice, which wasn’t really my cup of tea. To me it didn’t seem to fit the style of music they played. I tip my hat to them for sounding as tight as they did though, particularly for being just the three of them.
There was quite a bit of dead time in between Omni finishing their final song and Franz Ferdinand kicking off their own set, but the Scottish rockers instantly made the Columbus crowd forget about that with “Jacqueline,” the lead cut from their 2004 debut. To this day the self-titled effort is concerned by many to be their best work, and so it’s really no surprise that Alex Kapranos and company revisited this album often over the course of their time onstage. In fact, no album of the four Franz Ferdinand has released was visited more than their self-titled debut.
Even still, the now quintet was sure to throw in songs from each of their four records, in addition to a few brand new songs expected to appear on their forthcoming full-length. These new songs were enough to give folks a decent taste of what the next album could sound like, from the head-bobbing “Huck & Jim” that oscillated between a foot-stomping bassline and an infectious guitar groove, to the piano and guitar sharing the melody on “Paper Cages,” to the galloping bassline of “Lazy Boy.”
One of the main concerns about this tour and new era of Franz Ferdinand was the departure of longtime guitarist Nick McCarthy, and while McCarthy can’t necessarily be replaced, new additions Dino Bardot and Julian Corrie did a stellar job of filling in the gap he left behind. The post-punk Brit.-rockers struck a fine balance of new and old, playing both hits and fan favorites over the course of their hour set. This can be best encapsulated by their 3-song encore, which included the closing cut from their last effort, a new unreleased tune called “Always Ascending,” and their 2004 single “This Fire.”
Franz Ferdinand’s return to Columbus was well-worth the wait and left both diehards and casual fans alike eager to hear what they have to offer on their next full-length. While I’d be very surprised if it released before the end of this year, I can appreciate the fact that it’s probably coming sooner than we think. After all, what’s another several months after waiting four years?[Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page.]