All City Punition: Franz Ferdinand Assassinates Our Hearts and Minds at the House of Blues (10.4.13)

Photo courtesy of the  Dutchmasters at the Houston Press.

Photo courtesy of the Dutchmasters at the Houston Press.

SUP WIT IT, INTERNET? My tentacled body is wracked with pain and my ears are ringing , but I don’t give a damnnnn. Why, you ask? Because the Licentious Librarians of the Moist Graffiti were privy to some bitchin’ live shows last weekend in Styrofoam City. Be relieved: Imma keep the concert porn a li’l truncated tonight as I intend to DROP AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, ALL CAPS-WORTHY RAP ALBUM REVIEW LATER THIS WEEK.

As you may have surmised from the title above, my weekend commenced with the privilege of seeing Franz Ferdinand take up arms at the House of Blues. The House of Blues in the City of Syrup is no different than anywhere else– a sterile, godless tribute to the eternal 69 of capitalism and music. A PBR tallboy is $9, and if you tip less than 20% the bartender calls you a “dickfuck.” The bathrooms are strangely clean* to the extent that one wonders if you could eat dinner off of them and not die of dysentery. Between sets, an enormous screen demands that you pay homage to false idols by buying tickets to upcoming Selena Gomez shows. The same ads play whether the show of the night is The Lumineers or Houston dungeon rap. Needless to say, I frequently daydream about the House of Blues being obliterated by Spice-network satellite debris. Or maybe being taken over by those murderous hornets from China. I’m not holding my breath for either, but it’s k.

Me, Schnitzel B., and K. Targaryen split some beers at Schnitz’s crib before swangin’ and bangin’ to the scene around 8:30. I’d say we were swangin’ and bangin,’ but I spent the car ride trying to convince them that the Lorde album is the best non-Lord of the Rings-related thing to come from New Zealand in a while. Sweet LP, but hardly a ghetto blaster. We rallied with a couple more mates outside and penetrated the venue just as Houston’s own Young Girls** were finishing their opening set. They sounded aight, but then again I was busy trying to score some beers while neck-deep in pre-hipster hipsters, so I can’t rightly comment. The place was as fookin’ packt as I’ve ever seen it***, but we managed to get a decent spot.  Barely a moment had passed before handlers hung a big-ass pirate flag with “Franz Ferdinand” crudely embroidered on it. The lights dimmed, and the boys took the stage.

 Franz jamming "Strawberries," which is still somehow not about boning.

Franz jamming “Fresh Strawberries,” which is still somehow not about boning.

Alex Kapranos and guitarist Nick McCarthy immediately seized control of the room’s collective consciousness with a spry rendition of “Fresh Strawberries” from their recent LP RTRWRA. And then they were off!~ artfully slaying nineteen more tracks**** with just the right amount of panache. They tore through hit after hit with increasing energy, which crescendo-ed as the sexcellent “Dark of the Matinée” shifted to the down tempo “Walk Away,” and again during a rollicking 10-minute jam session in the middle of “Can’t Stop Feeling.” Kapranos regularly called out to the crowd between jams, often growling just “HUGH-STINNNN!” The crowd ate it alive.

The setlist was a near perfect suite of tunes spanning Franz’s entire history, nearly all of it emblematic of their unmatched penchant for dance rock.  My only regret throughout their ninety minutes was that I hadn’t arrived hours early to score a spot at the foot of the altar, as the crowd at the front wasn’t enjoying it nearly enough judging by their lethargic head nods.

Time flies when you’re getting your face melted though, and the crowd’s angst was palpable the boys galloped off the stage after the weaker Tonight-era party treatise, “Ulysses.” Would it be their swan song? Franz left the stage as the lights dimmed for all of thirty seconds before returning to shred three more tracks. The air soon hung heavy once again as  the aptly titled “Goodbye & Lovers and Friends” drew to a close. El fin?

HELLLL NO. Alex grinned, thanked us all for being droogs for an evening, then launched off into the baddest, most Alderaan-destroying-ist version of “Jacqueline” imaginable. It was the perfect end to a damn fine evening of music. The lights came on. Someone spilled beer on my kicks, but I didn’t even notice. Stoned off the beauty of existence, we left the House of Blues one up on the universe.

Moist Graffiti Rating

Venue: House of Blues. Not great, but at least you can see if you’re stuck at the back:
80.344

Audience:  Mostly dudes who probably jammed a lot of Modest Mouse and Interpol in college.
Still, for all the MIRVs being detonated on stage they could have been a lot more into it. It’s k tho:
88.65

Setlist: Near perfect set of all eras of Franz thoughtfully prepared with the perfect seasonings:
98.380

Performance: Alex, Nick and the boys shredded like Tiger Viking Gods From Hell. It was tight:
100.00

Average: 91.8435

Bonus Points:

Ended set with “Jacqueline” instead of apropo “Goodbye Lovers & Friends”: +3
Alex Kapranos, Swag Lord 9000:  +3

MG Rating:                               97.8435

Danke as always for sparing a moment to ponder the Dionysian Diaries of the Moist Graffiti, and stay in town for some special treats to come later this week. Schnitzel B. is going to tell you about the time we were baptized in blood at the Second Battle of FIDLAR 2013, and I might just drop a scroll BOUT DAT NEW PUSHA-TON JOINT. OH SHIT IT’S COMIN OUT TOMORROW I GOTTA FINISH MY GEOMETRY HOMEWORK OR MY MOM WILL KILL ME.

You Only Live Twice,
Doc Socks

*Compare HOB’s bathrooms to Fitzgerald’s, where they only invested in a door to the men’s WC sometime during the past year (the venue has been around since 1977).

**We had gotten all the obvious pedophilia jokes out of our collective system earlier in the afternoon, so I’ll abstain from making any more here. You chimo.

***Not The XX levels, but close.

****Setlist: “Fresh Strawberries,” “No You Girls,” “Right Action,” “Do You Want To,” “Tell Her Tonight,” “Evil Eye,” “Dark of the Matinée,” “Walk Away,” “Stand on the Horizon,” “Can’t Stop Feeling,” “The Fallen,” “Bullet,” “This Fire,” “Take Me Out,” “Love Illumination,” “Ulysses”; Encore: “Treason! Animals,” “Michael,” “Goodbye Lovers & Friends,” and “Jacqueline.”

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