Words by Corinne Casella | Photos by Jeremy Gordon
In support of their self-titled album, FFS, comprised of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, art-rock legends decades a part, joined forces on October 6th for a high energy show at Terminal 5. The night was a beat-generated melding of influences, culminating in a supergroup for the intelligent music fan.
In that vein, aptly named openers The Intelligence, primed the audience with their short but sweet post-punk offerings, starting off their set with their sardonic hit ‘Cleaning Lady. FFS followed suit soon after, proving to its multi-generational fan base that good music is universal. “There are not two bands on stage tonight,” stated Alex Kapranos to the crowd. “There is only FFS!” From start to finish, the almost two hour set featured songs from both band’s repertoire, as well as highlighting songs off their collaborative album.
Highlights from the night included the perfectly blended vocals of Sparks’ Russel Mael’s perfect falsetto and Kapranos’ distinctive range. Their sync-pop epic ballads got the crowd literally bouncing to a fever pitch during a riotous version of “The Number One Song In Heaven.” During the song, keyboardist Ron Mael, broke for a moment from his trademark evil genius stare, to delight the crowd with spontaneous gyrations that drove them crowd wild. Franz Ferdinand guitarist Nick McCarthy set the over-the-top mood of the night with his explosive riffs, while drummer Paul Thomson and bassist Bob Hardy kept the beat thumping as they launched into an enlightened version of “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us.”
The group’s zany artful pop antics climaxed in a four way stint on the keys featuring Kapranos, Russel Mael, Hardy and McCarthy, as Ron looked on in perfect disdain. The group’s original song ‘Piss Off’ paid homage to their post-punk influences while their lead single ‘Johnny Delusional’ sounded more at home in a rock opera. Mixed in was Franz Ferdinand’s 2004 hit ‘Take Me Out’ and an encore of Sparks’ ‘When Do I Get to Sing My Way.’
The merging of so many musical influences made the experience one of discovery and exploration. After only a few months of touring, FFS has developed an incredible chemistry, clearly born out of mutual admiration for each others talent and the excitement of creating something entirely new. They ended the night in true tongue in cheek fashion with their hilariously staged “Collaborations Don’t Work,” proving that quite the opposite is true. As the merged group has arguably produced some of the best work either band has created in years.
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