My way to Roseland

I made my way to Roseland last night, for the opening night of Franz Ferdinand's fall US tour. The band was fresh off of its Mercury Music Prize win, and playing to a very excited packed house. I thought they were the greatest thing in the world six months ago, but I burned out on the album and have cooled off on them since then. But first, the openers. The Futureheads started things off with a quick set at 7:30 before jetting to Rothko for a headlining gig of their own. Their new self-titled album has been getting a lot of hype, but hasn't really clicked with me yet. Right now, I don't find it too special aside from a few songs. I might just need to see them live, which'll have to happen another night. They were long gone by the time I walked in at 8.

I was excited for Delays (no "The"), who were up next - I'm a big fan of Faded Seaside Glamour, and only laziness has kept it out of the favorites section on the right. They put on a very good live show. And the lead singer is indeed a man, just with an impressive falsetto. FSG is pretty slickly produced, and I wasn't sure how the songs would do live. The band had a lot of loose energy though, and pulled it off well - "Nearer Than Heaven", "Stay Where You Are", and set closer "Long Time Coming" being my highlights. Two gripes - 1)They used way too many samples - not just electronics and weird sounds, but actual prerecorded guitar lines. An extra guitarist could go a long way. 2)No "Wanderlust", which opens the album. And with all those samples on hand, the steel drum is no excuse.

Next up, Franz Ferdinand. I'd seen them once before, in January at the Bowery Ballroom. This was before their album had come out domestically, but I was already hooked on it (thanks to SLSK). They blew the roof off the Bowery that night, tearing through the entire album with little talk. They had tons of energy on stage and were incredibly tight - in a club that small, it was pretty amazing. You knew they were destined for bigger things.

Yesterday's show reminded me that they are still a great live band, they've just become rock stars as well. Alex Kapranos was way chattier, with an intro for almost every song, and there was huge banner on stage that wouldn't have even fit in the Bowery. (Of course, my spot on the floor would've been halfway across Delancey St.) The set was well-sequenced, with "Take Me Out" snuck into the middle vs. a predictable spot at the end. They extended a lot of the songs - a longer intro to "Tell Her Tonight", extended breakdown to "Michael", etc. - and threw in two new songs, "Your Diary" sounding the best. For me, set closer "Darts of Pleasure" was the high point. Not surprisingly, the sound at Roseland sucked - the guitars were muddy and you could barely hear the hi-hat. (Which, for Franz Ferdinand, is like not hearing the Rapture's cowbell.)

All in all, definitely a good show, but a band like Franz Ferdinand is at its best when you can feel and feed off their energy. The smaller the club, the better they seem. Putting aside the mix, I don't have a lot of bad to say about last night except that it just wasn't as good as the first time. And the way things are going for them, it may never be.