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Franz Ferdinand 9/23 @ The Pageant – Other side of the pond (is filled with scotch) September 24, 2005

Posted by Matt Hurst in Uncategorized.

Going to a show at The Pageant on a Friday night means a big act is
probably in town and you will become a parking lot vulture following people to
the end of their trip about town (in their cars). Tonight was little
exception. People will harass you shortly thereafter, as they have been in
desperate pursuit of parking; the loop is a cultural mecca, bleeding with
vaudeville jazz marches and social sycophants. The big act tonight was Franz
The Pageant is widely considered the most lush of venues in the city’s most
culturally vibrant (if not cosmopolitan) district in town. If you go for
prestige in live acts, the Fox Theatre is still where it at, but it is a dying
concert hall (much less a stage) and doesn’t allow smoking (it took years to
restore the facility from smoking tar). Everything about the Pageant is huge –
the pit, the sound system, the intelligent lighting, the stage, and the popularity.
Consequently, the place has more of a brute club policy. I have heard horror
stories about people being sent out in an ambulance when they dare mock their
featured performers (they also received a lifetime ban as reward for the
pummeling given). I myself was nearly arrested after my pat down revealed my
jacket pocket flask full of Jack Daniels. It was my late father’s initial flask,
and no less they nearly kept it to auction off if not for my mother’s retrieval
of our rightful property. They still let me see that show, and here comes
Though the show is general admission, I am still seated in he peanut gallery with
my three packs of honey roasted nuts sold for a dollar (the soda costs two). I
came to the concert alone, so I allow myself the dignity of proper seating while I sit through the first couple of acts. Unfortunately I am next to the merch table, and thusly bound to run into someone I’ve met before and explain that I am alone tonight. truly depressing. I must get in the pit before the headline act
The opening act, Cut Copy, was mistaken as having a drum machine/sampler as they started. Decent dance rock fare if you’re unfamiliar. Second song into the set they sampled daft punk’s “around the world” and turn it into their own rollick as far as the crowd was concerned. They of the “future” that sounds more and more “the past”. I think they enjoyed dancing more than the crowd did, who were content just to clap.
Damn, I could use a good dry martini! or something equally empty as the
show on stage. their bassist was having a solidly hand banging time, their lead
singer/keyboard/guitar just wanted to dance, and their drummer felt left out in
his constricting position even while controlling the dance floor. A four song
set! I mean, thank god, it’s not like the Happy Mondays or anything. But
seriously, by my count that is a awfully short set. At the end I was sure they
were going to launch into a cover of Miss Kitten and the hacker’s “1982”, if
only based on the repetition of the word rendezvous.
They lied. Probably just to insult me for writing while they played. Then they flailed themselves around and revealed their inner emo just before mercifully exiting the stage.

The second act, Pretty Girls Make Graves , were clearly consummate performers. It was apparent from the offset, if only because I am largely unaware them. They seemed passionate about what they were doing at least. The low end grows like a death rattle as it rises, though it would seem their sound could use just a little filling out. Especially in the mid/vocal range, which sounded a bit thin. I’ll give the benefit of a doubt here, and say the vocals were over amplified instead of whining. Their drummer has versatile control over them, but I have no idea what wind instrument this one member is playing. like a mix of a harmonium and a harmonica – the harmon(icium).
Ha! A underage kid just asked me if i was 21. If only he knew. I thought he was
going to steal the seats I have been saving for strangers who wanted to be in pit for this act. I will have to boot the people occupying said seats when they come
back. I have to pee like the dickens, but I am afraid I’ll lose my seat as well.
plus it’s bad etiquette.
The colors of the band can be identified as red and black. Not really in manner
of dress or lighting (though it is anciliarily true as well), but rather in
their music. It is passion in the darkness. Problem is, I’m not really feeling
it. This is an act that probably is sonically better through recording. I would as
hope much. I mean, there’s not much to complain about, because it is fast,
furious, and somewhat tuneful. I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe if i wasn’t
sitting on the sidelines, but I really didn’t find them terribly compelling.
The accordion introduced towards the end sounded kind of interesting, though
Arcade Fire does it to greater effect.
I could tell already that i wouldn’t make it in the pit, where everyone in a
probably sold out house wants to be for the headliner that brought them out.
Oh well, I would be dancing by myself anyway. When the girls return, my seat
would be stolen first chance someone asks. I wouldn’t blame them. bad karma
The introduction of a saxophone made things easier, before they sang a
little garage metal ditty about baby Jesus dedicated to geniuses. When the second act pours their hearts out to you and you barely empathize, things are bound to go badly. in the stage world, the second act is supposed to be one of increased conflict. problem was, it was conflict between me (the audiendce) and the act on stage.
I wasn’t right by the way. The girls even saved a seat for me after my visit to the
water closet, but I am sad to report the pit is so full that the bodyguards were forced to block any new enterers. Snd appearantly, the Pagaent uses some sort of marker ink on minor’s hands that singes your skin when the contact water. I knew there was some reason or another I don’t wash my hands often. the pain is debilitating, much like the pain waiting for the band to start.

The third act brings triumph over the conflict, heroes defeating adversity
through the shear power of goodness. Franz Ferdinand (by way of Scotland) came to an eager crowd and took the house down (even if it was skewed young). They look exactly like you’d expect them to from having seen their music videos.
Their set was an infectious mix of roughly 60 parts recycled material and 40
percent their forthcoming songs. Some of the crowd was there for the singles,
but the majority were on their feet for most of the set (even if they were seated

The PA sounded a bit cloudy, but the band was at a full mastery of their catalog
old and new. The set was carefully orchestrated to induce a fever pitch of
dance rock. The band themselves seemed to be focused on crowd pleasing, and it would appear they succeeded wildly.
In between songs we learned a few things about the band. They commented on
their shopping in St. Louis, following that they planned on returning as a
result. (I kill humor by repeating it, but very few laughed). They had us all
scratching our heads when they said the were going to play a song Ritchie Valen
made famous, before rolling easily into “Take Me Out”. Old material pleased the
crowd who came because of it, but their draw has been strengthened by these new songs. “Do U Want To” looks like a first monster of a single sure to sell lots of records, including the purchase by yours truly. My pick for second single “Walk Away” is reminiscent of sweet songs on The Beatles’ “Hard Days Night” album. Another standout song new to their repertoire was something that reminded me Blur’s heyday in Brit-Pop, but you know, danceable. even i tried on my “dead fish flopping on the deck” moves on.
It all sounded a little like this (click to listen), except without the cell phone garble ruining it.
In what I presumed to be their second to last song (“Michael” if my memory serves me), Alex, the lead singer, gave an introduction of the band members people forget about all to often. He did so in the classic style of letting the players go crazy on their solos by extending the song. Keep in mind this is all played with a backdrop of the four core members’ mug shots in high-contrast black and white that couldn’t help but look fascist for the music elitists. They left on “Darts of Pleasure” to a crowd just begging for more. “We’ll have fantastic pleasure” indeed, with a band named after the infamous assassin helping us to keep dancing.
The crowd demanded a fucking encore. They got a four song encore that was clearly pre-planned if the lighting schemes were any indication. The first song was a pass, the second was an electric rocker that had alex doing his best Jim Morrison impression over his bottle of scotch. The third song had us all in a dancing frenzy and friends of the band running up on stage to help drum. They went out finally with “this fire”, and the disco inferno was hard to put out. Through it all, Alex’s dancing came full swagger, or at least it caught my attention because they were moves i expect from Beck or James Brown. Do I need to mention how gracefully he wears his guitar when he’s not playing it?

Fine show, bad sound, rotten opening, solid headline performance, good night.
I will post a set list later, when I find one.



1. homeless_spork - September 24, 2005

your reviews are alittle long winded for me… but thorough, so I won’t complain. Just check your sentences, you skip words and mix up some orders, its like your typing drunk…like me.

2. skewgee - September 24, 2005

my show reviews have been written sober, but on a cellphone, at said shows. i might as well be typing drunk on those things!

go ahead, ask me about how trying to record a sample.

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