Franz Ferdinand @ Malkin Bowl -- 09/06/09

Well, it was bound to happen. Almost every time I've seen a show at Malkin Bowl it has threatened to rain, and every time I have used my vast powers to make sure it doesn't. Until last night. It had been raining on and off all day, and when we finally got to the park, it was still lightly drizzling and ended up raining to varying degrees the whole show. Though it was a warm rain, luckily, so it wasn't unpleasant or cold or uncomfortable, just a little wet. (It's still good, it's still good).

The opening back, Defektors (the 'k' makes them edgy), hit the stage around 7, and they were... well, let's just say their song was not horrible, but the decision to play it over and over for their whole set -- which, mercifully, only lasted about 25 minutes -- was questionable. They mumbled through the introductions, claiming each iteration of the song had a different name, and stood around kinda awkward while playing, with little to no stage presence. It's not like they were terrible by any means, but I have already forgotten their set and all their songs.

I am pretty sure that the show was accelerated a little, due to the rain (which was a light drizzle at that point), as it was 8 when Franz Ferdinand came out and launched right into No You Girls. They paused after the first song to say hellos and Alex Kapranos thanked us all for waiting in the rain, informing us how awesome we are. Of course, since he mentioned it, as soon as they started the next song, Dark Of The Matinée, it started absolutely pouring. This stopped no one, however, from enjoying the show as Franz's insane energy kept everyone moving. A few times, mostly during the instrumental bits and solos, Alex and/or Nick would even venture out into the front part of the stage, uncovered and soaking wet, to play a little in the rain. They played a pretty good mix of songs from all three albums, with an obvious focus on the newest. A lot of the older songs, though, had a few changes or updates thrown in, mostly just some extra flourishes, or a solo here or there. Nothing to make the songs unrecognizable, but just so they don't go "stale".
After a few more songs -- Bite Hard being notable, as it is incredible live -- Alex introduced everyone while leading into This Fire, an amusing song to hear in the pouring rain, especially with everyone shouting the chorus. What You Came For was followed by their first and probably still biggest hit, Take Me Out (a sly jab, perhaps?) which had everyone singing/yelling along to the chorus. The main set ended with the combination of the last songs from the first two albums. 40', which had an amazing instrumental interlude and Alex doing a call & answer with the crowd for the La La La-La's, and Outsiders, which is always incredible to see this song live, as it ends with all four members of the band going batshit insane on the drumkit.
As the rain finally eased up, they came back out for the encore, keeping up the insane energy with a few older songs. They capped off the whole night with Lucid Dreams, which was the song I had most hoped they would play. The song itself was more like the single version than the album version, which had me a little anxious, but those fears were quashed when they did indeed go into the second half of the song, from the album version. Stretched out to about 10 minutes, the synthy-dance-funk-o-tron ending, which sounds more like Death From Above 1979-lite or Holy Fuck than anything Franz has done before, was mind blowing and a near perfect way to end the show. As the sing came to a close, each member departed the stage one by one, starting with Alex, then Nick (leaving a synthy-loop going), then Bob, leaving drummer Paul all alone (with said loop) to go insane on the drums and bring the song to an epic finale. They came out one final time to the very front of the stage for a bow and that was that. At 9:30, no less!

Each time I have seen them live, they just keep getting more and more mindblowingly awesome. Maybe they venues have been getting progressively better (Colloseum to Commodore to Malkin Bowl) and maybe it's cos last time they played was before the new album, but even despite the weather, it was one amazing show. The only way it could have been better is if they had played Katherine Kiss Me, but since that is a very mellow and almost acoustic-y song, I can understand why they didn't... but it still would have made for a really cool closing song, like a kind of dénouement after the insanity of Lucid Dreams.

The setlist was as follows:
No You Girls, Dark of the Matinée, Walk Away, Bite Hard, Tell Her Tonight, Do You Wanna?, This Fire, What You Came For, Take Me Out, Ulysses, 40', Outsiders.
(encore) Michael, Turn It On, Darts of Pleasure, Lucid Dreams.