Heavyweight rockers hit D.A.R.
Franz Ferdinand's tight sound, pants wow as DCFC bores
Alex Kapranos spread his legs apart during the punches of the "Walk Away" chorus, pounding his pelvis to the beat set forth by drummer Paul Thomson. His pants gave new meaning to the term "tightie whities," as his constrained bottom struggled against the stiff fabric. Every band member's backside pounced the beats in the hour-long set, their hip movements deep and influenced by the impassioned playing of their instruments.
If Franz Ferdinand's set on Tuesday at D.A.R. Constitution Hall was a semi-pornographic Harlequin romance novel, Death Cab for Cutie's was an IKEA instruction manual.
Place Ben Gibbard on stage right; insert alternating foot-stomping. Straighten Chris Walla's hair to fall-over-his-eyes perfection; have him jump between piano and guitar. Insert several orgasmic screams of "I love you, Ben!" Position bassist Nick Harmer in the center; have him plunge his hand down into the guitar strings for extra dramatic emphasis. Insert Dave Matthews Band-style jam session; watch audience tap watches impatiently. End with "Transatlanticism."
The mismatched pair should learn their lesson from the current set order: Do not send crowd into a frenzy with Franz only to bore them to death with Death Cab.
Alex Kapranos and co., dressed in a cowboy motif, have coordinated routines for certain songs, much to everyone's delight. Swarming drummer Paul Thomson's personal space, the band then took a flying leap straight into "Darts of Pleasure." Kapranos's rock 'n' roll leg kicks on "Michael" and "Jacqueline" led to swooning via sexual ambiguity. He even took the time to introduce the band, asking of Nick McCarthy, "He looks just like that guy from Blue Velvet, whatta ya think?"
The cringe-worthy antics of Death Cab for Cutie are best exemplified by when, during an extended version of "We Looked Like Giants," Ben Gibbard not only played a snare drum along with Jason McGerr for five minutes but climbed to the top of an amp, leaping off in anticlimactic glory. "We Laugh Indoors," "A Movie Script Ending" and "Company Calls" found a spot in the set littered with dull "Transatlanticism" and "Plans" tracks, but the crowd only found "The Sound of Settling" particularly energizing.
"I Will Follow You into the Dark" was most likely memorable for the girl who insisted on running her fingers through her hair for the duration of the set, and the repetitive piano and lyric lines of "What Sarah Said" are so exhausting that what is supposed to be a performance of a poignant song about love and loss turns into a self-imposed death wish.
In this competition, Franz certainly came out on top. Because when a performance is a trashy, beachside sex novel, the final song is an unwanted end. Death Cab, however, was impossible to piece together and riddled with too many unnecessary pieces.