Franz Ferdinand Pearl Street Ballroom, Northampton, MA June 8, 2017

Story by Stephanie Janicedottir

Photo by Vital Visions Art by Kelly D

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From the video channel of Timothy Smith: 

My introduction to Franz Ferdinand came when Pandora, through its infinite wisdom (aka algorithms), decided that it belonged in the rotation on my Progressive Rock Workout Jam station.  Not a band that screams prog rock, but with other favorite bands like David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and Primus playing alongside Yes, King Crimson, and Tool, it’s not a great stretch of the imagination to add a post-modern punk band into the mix.  My only song by Franz Ferdinand in the playlist is the obvious “Take Me Out” and I wanted to hear more music by them.  

A couple of months ago I’d heard that the band was touring the U.S. and coming to Northampton and I had to go.  One of my girlfriends, Kelly, had also expressed an interest in going to the show and I promised her she’d be my +1 if I could swing it.  

Once in Northampton we found a great parking space, took pictures of the sunset, and arrived at Pearl Street to a good-sized line outside to get in.  Once upstairs, we caught the tail end of the opening band, Omni, whom I would have sworn came over from the UK, but are from Atlanta, GA.  Their music has a very British new wave sound to it and they came up to open a couple of nights for Franz Ferdinand on their tour.

From the video channel of Patrick Garriepy:

After a break, Franz Ferdinand took the stage.  The audience was excited to see the band and I was impressed with the diverse age range of the crowd, but it was clear everyone was a loyal fan as they sang along to almost every song.  It was packed and most likely sold out and I hung back towards the soundboard where I could dance while I lost Kelly as she moved to get some killer pictures up front.  There was plenty of energy as the audience played off of lead Alex Kapranos as he moved across the stage – encouraging folks to wave their arms, clap their hands, and sing along with the band and on their own.  

It was a pleasure to see that much engagement and participation in a group of strangers brought together for the love of this band’s music.  Some highlights of the night included “No You Girls,” “Do You Want To,” “This Fire”, and of course “Take Me Out.” Franz Ferdinand played two sets and were done by 10:45.  

So what do you do when a show gets out “early” by Northampton standards? Go next door to the Sierra Grille and catch local band Colorway play until last call.  

From the video channel of Timothy Smith: 

The frontman of that band, also named Alex, is also the betrothed of a long-time Valley friend of mine, Jodi.  It was wonderful to catch up with her and see her man’s band perform.  It didn’t take long for some of the band members of Franz Ferdinand and Omni, including Alex, to wander in as well (Editor’s note: on the behalf of one Kelly D, may I add!).  Kelly and I had a wonderful conversation about their tour and Alex said that the best part of performing that evening was that there were no barriers between him and the audience.  

Alex said he’s often confronted with a no-man’s-land between the stage and the security-lined barrier keeping crowds back.  Alex said he enjoys the exchange of energy and joy he has when the audience is so close you can touch them and Pearl Street Ballroom was one such venue. I wish Alex and his mates well on the rest of their U.S. tour and I hope to hear new music from them soon!  

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