Franz Ferdinand make Tremont Street dance

A review of the WFNX Miracle on Tremont Street with Franz Ferdinand and Airborne Toxic Event on December 6

, Staff

WFNX’s Miracle on Tremont St. holiday show at the Orpheum housed a melting pot of music lovers – twenty- and thirty-something hipsters, teens with parent chaperones and couples and friends in their 40’s and 50’s — all anxious and eager to dance in the aisles to Franz Ferdinand’s’ funky, fun form of British pop-inspired rock.&

After a quick introduction and few Bush slanders from a WFNX radio jock, Franz was ready to deliver what would be an eccentric and entertaining dance rock show that showcased the band’s love of music and performing.

On the black stage four pillars of light appeared, each highlighting a member of the British dance rock sensation. The group didn’t waste any time getting the party started with an adrenaline-pumping performance of saucy songs and beats that lasted for the duration of the show – the fans never used their seats.

"Do You Want To", released off their You Could Have It So Much Better album, and one of the first songs on the night’s set list, was a chirpy form of poppy punk with catchy guitar riffs and cheeky lyrics. Alex Kapranos was a true depiction of a British rocker in his tight jeans and leather jacket; there was a frantic nature about him as he bounced across the stage, thrusting his body into high kicks and bopping up and down on the balls of his feet while singing and strumming.

"Turn It On", a single off of the bands third album, Tonight, which is expected to release in late January, exhibited the groups desire to play with different sounds and harmonies. It opened with bellowing guitar riffs, deep thumps of percussion and a few purring, techno-inspired strokes of the synthesizer, producing an unconventional, funky song. In it’s progression the song picks up tempo with faster chords and throws in some maracas and a tambourine, which complemented its lively nature and really nailed it down as a cheery dance number.

The entirety of the night pretty much continued on in the same fashion, the band wailing out some classic, pop-rock singles such as the beloved "Take Me Out", which sent the crowd into a tizzy of song and dance, followed by a few more interesting, upbeat dance numbers with a little less emphasis on rock. Kapranos, Bob Hardy on bass, Nick McCarthy on guitar/keys and Paul Thompson on drums changed the pace a bit with "Walk Away", a slower single of highs and lows with Kapranos’ dark, moody vocals forming a 70’s British punk-rock vibe. The song was most entrancing in it’s slower sections, backed by McCarthy’s soft plucking, as Kapranos starred down the audience singing "I love the sound of you walking away," producing a creepy and intoxicating nature with his stance and harrowing vocals – think John Lennon meets Alex DeLarge.

The party really got started in the show’s final minutes — the encore consisted of "The Fallen", a high-energy rock-pop song with bursts of bass, guitar and drums, where Kapranos teased and triggered the audience into belting out the lyrics by asking "Is Boston a quiet town?" and then continued to pause the song and demand more noise. Also included in the encore was "The Outsiders", a boisterous and wild formation of dominant drum beats and a catchy chorus. Towards the end of the song the drum tempo became a collaborative effort as all four members contributed to the beat as they played the drums on stage together, really showcasing their ability to be playful and their appreciation for one another.&

In Franz’s final number, "This Fire", the players and the music, as well the actions and emotions on stage really held the essence of a good rock show. The song combines up tempo dance rock rhythms, smart hooks and catchy beats. Kapranos exuded passion, springing up and down on his feet as he exclaimed, "How I burn for you," backed by a prominent bass guitar. The song has a heavy, quick tempo from bass, guitar and drums, which inspired Kapranos’ true rock star to come out. He resembled a typical rocker as he wrestled with his guitar on the floor, rolled around the stage and slowly crouched and crawled about. The song hit its climax as Kapranos jolted to the tempo, then the stage went black and it was over — the crowd whistled and clapped in approval. If only Kapranos would have projectile vomited, it could’ve been a classic rock and roll moment, but I am sure the kiddies wouldn’t have appreciated it.&
& The Airborne Toxic Event, a L.A.-based band of five set the tone for the night. Mike Jollett’s raspy, fiery vocals and the impassioned presence and musical combination of guitar, drums and the always-inspiring violin, produced an interesting indie-rock event favored by the audience. The band’s final song, "The Innocence", a heartfelt and inspiring number that starts off slow and finishes strong sent the crowd into a roaring ball of excitement, pumping the perfect amount blood through the venue before the main event appeared.

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