By Cody Kenner
The stage was set in the ornate, classical Orpheum Theatre, which would be the backdrop for a strange, hybrid, foot-moving machination. After an underwhelming poor man’s Arctic Monkeys-esque opening act, the audience was ready for the headlining act. Some of the audience—the older, parent types—had come as fans of Sparks. Others—the fresher, college age sort—had come there as followers of Franz Ferdinand. FFS’s performance would in time give each fan group exactly what they wanted, and even what they didn’t know they wanted.
The lights dimmed, the stage reddened, and lights beamed as the members of FFS—a brilliant amalgamation of both Franz Ferdinand and Sparks—arrived on stage. They leapt right into action with “Johnny Delusional,” a driving, feet-pumping number that immediately embodied the best characteristics of both bands. Their next songs, “The Man without a Tan” and “Police Encounters,” were no less dance-y, and their lyrics no less cheeky. “Police Encounters” tells the story of a man in love with the policeman’s “Bowie knife”-wielding wife, and the following song, “Save Me from Myself,” waxed darkly existential. Before long, FFS let out a Sparks-imbued cover of Franz Ferdinand’s “Do You Want To,” sending the crowd into a fervor. This initiated a back-and-forth series of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks covers, including Sparks’ “No. 1 Song in Heaven” and “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us,” and Franz Ferdinand’s upbeat, homoerotic “Michael.” FFS winded down the set with the ever-changing, prog rock-ish “Dictator’s Son,” followed by the crowd-stirring “Take Me Out,” and ending with the cheerfully irreverent FFS original “Piss Off.” The band waved goodbye, and the audience cheered on, raring for more of this infectious supergroup.
This, unsurprisingly, heralded an encore, which was kicked off promptly with a cover of Sparks’ “When Do I Get to Sing ‘My Way.’” This was followed by FSS’s “Call Girl,” and rounded off with the clever, jokingly ironic “Collaborations Don’t Work,” pitting the voices of Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand) and Ron Mael (Sparks) against each other. Even after this high note, however, there was an energy imparted on the crowd, one that asked for more but knew that FFS had already delivered more than enough. Between the stage-working, expressionistic antics of Mael and Kapranos, the hyped, delirious rhythms, and the catchy, ridiculous lyrics, FFS provided a truly memorable night.