I’m not going to lie– my heart broke more and more with each text I got from my friend at Amsterdam regarding the broken nose and knock out count at the show going on there. Some of my best friends are in the band Buried Above Ground and last night was their hometown show on a massive tour they are doing. I wanted to be there for them and to see all of my friends but Franz Ferdinand was playing at First Avenue and they have been on my bucket list of years. I couldn’t justify going to see a handful of bands I’ve seen a million times over a band I had never seen before. I made the most of it and after a couple of drinks with a friend, I found myself in First Avenue surrounded by strangers instead of at Amsterdam surrounded by my friends but I was excited for what the night may hold.
The show kicked off right at 9PM with Priests. Priests is an indie rock (but almost punk) band from DC that, although I had never heard of prior to last night, I instantly fell in love with. There was a sense of charm that radiated from the four members as they powered through their forty minute set. Although their sound was very much punk, grunge and garage rock, there was this sound of clarity that reigned supreme throughout their set. I got a very early B-52s/ Siouxsie & The Banshees vibe about them but there was also something about them that made them feel very modern. Even though the old school influences were clear, the originality of this group was even more clear and kept their set feeling fresh and new.
With only one album out and having only been around since 2012, I think it’s fair to consider Priests a fairly new act on the scene. That being said, they are quickly gaining momentum and after seeing and feeling their live show, I can say, with confidence, that that momentum is going to come to a peak very soon. Not only was their music catchy, it was original and gave me something to remember. Their live show wasn’t full of jumps (although I caught a few) and running across the stage but there was a sense of energy and fun that came off the stage. Priests is a great band and definitely deserves your attention. I urge you to check them out next time they come to your area!
Headlining the Friday night show was the one and only Franz Ferdinand. Since 2002, this group has been making waves in the indie rock scene. Even if their band name doesn’t sound familiar, I’m sure you know at least one of their songs. Their 2004 release of their single “Take Me Out” seemed to catapult this band onto a worldwide stage and, although it’s been over ten years, they continue to conquer stages across the world and continue to gain popularity. Sure, call them a one hit wonder but the truth is that they have been putting out high-quality music that is undeniably “Franz Ferdinand” and haven’t missed a beat. It’s always amazing to me to see a band that is able to do and, to see a band like that live is always a treat.
The sold out crowd roared with applause as the five men took the stage and jumped right into what would turn into a fourteen song set followed by a four song encore. It’s not that I was surprised by the amount of energy that radiated from both the stage and the audience, but I think I was surprised by the way I found myself getting lost in it all. Although I’m not a die hard Franz Ferdinand fan, I’ve been listening to them for years even after the hype of “Take Me Out” seemed to wear off. Being able to see this band live and finding myself in a sweaty mess of strangers seemed to add a whole new side to this band that I never heard or felt before. Their music, although definitely album quality live, seemed to be more energized and more dancey than it is when listening to it in the background at work. I thought I was going to spend the night in my normal spot just bobbing along to the music but, within the first song, I found myself gravitating towards the middle of the sweaty mess of an audience and jumping along to the beat. When a show has the power to do that, I know it’s a damn good show.
Franz Ferdinand played songs that spanned the entirety of their career. Each song gave a new group in the audience a chance to sing along. The new fans, the old fans, the lifers, the “hit song only” crowd… everyone had a chance to sing and dance along to their favorite songs and that added a truly beautiful feeling to the night. From the first night of their opening song “Always Ascending” until the final note of “This Fire” rang out through the speakers, the crowd was excited and smiling and the band seemed to be doing the same. If last night was rough day in your world and you ended up at First Avenue, that day was turned around quick and I’m sure you ended up going to bed happy. Every concert should have that sense of power but not every band can do it… Franz Ferdinand can and I’m truly lucky to have been able to experience it!
I missed out on a couple of broken bones, a couple of knockouts, and a whole bunch of friends but I got to see a band that I have only ever dreamed of seeing live. Life is about choices and choosing between concerts is always the hardest decision of my day. Sure, I’ll always wonder how amazing all of the bands were at Amsterdam last night but I know that I saw one hell of a show and had an amazing night… that’s all that matters.