On their much anticipated return to Portland, Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand played an electrifying show at the sold out Roseland Theater April 26. Alex Kapranos lead the band through a fiery, 90-minute set covering 22 songs that spanned the band’s thriving catalog and featured tracks from last year’s Right Thought Right Words Right Action.
As was to be expected, Franz Ferdinand was a high octane affair from beginning to end. Accompanied by a barrage of multicolored strobed stage lighting, the party kicked off with a new track, Bullet, fortified by the double barrel guitar attack from Kapranos and Nick McCarthy, and backed by the propulsive rhythm section of bassist Bob Hardy and drummer Paul Thomson.
While featuring six new tracks from their latest release, Franz Ferdinand brandished their dynamic, edgy pop with precision, ripping through The Fallen, No You Girls of notable iPod fame, before moderating the tempo with another new track Fresh Strawberries, providing a brief respite before Kapranos and Company shifted back into high gear.
In addition to showcasing their newest animated material, the band mined through numerous tunes from their 2004 self-titled debut, exuberantly playing The Dark of the Matinee, Tell Her Tonight, Can’t Stop Feeling, and rousing crowd favorite, Take Me Out, which received the loudest response to that point. Kapranos lead the bouncing, packed floor of the Roseland with his own gymnastic pogo jumping and aerial splits throughout the set.
Keeping the energy high, Franz Ferdinand inserted a few more newly crafted gems, Stand on the Horizon, Brief Encounters, and Right Thought Right Words Right Action's gritty, fuzzed-out rocker Love Illumination.
But the pinnacle of the evening was Kapranos’ orchestration of the audience on This Fire. Without prompting, the packed main floor was shouting the chorus in unison. Kapranos seized the crowd’s excitement and conducted an extended raucous chorus, a crescendo of screaming fans, then quieting the crowd to a hushed rumble before waving them into a final frenzied eruption.
With the crowd still smoldering, the band finished their main set with Outside, concluding with Kapranos, McCarthy, and Cave standing on Thomson’s drum riser and commencing in a group drum solo. Kapranos repeatedly spun of the riser during the drumming in dramatic fashion until the song ended and the band exited the stage.
It wasn’t long before the cheering sold-out crowd brought them back for more. Franz Ferdinand returned to play Right Action, Shopping for Blood, to the delight of the loyal fan holding a hand made sign at the front of the stage, Ulysses, and ending with a final sincere salutation of Goodbye Lovers and Friends.
It’s no wonder Franz Ferdinand relished its return to Portland. Playing before a sold out Roseland Theater, full of appreciative fans, was mutually gratifying and well played. Well played indeed!