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Franz Ferdinand - Bullet
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Oct 11, 2013
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161 times
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Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand blazed through Chicago this week between double duty Sunday headlining spots at both weekends of Austin City Limits Festival down in Texas. Though they last played the Second City at 2012's rain soaked Lollapalooza, it's been more than five years since their last record, and die-hard fans sold out the cozy Vic Theatre to hear Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy and co. bring their latest Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action to a club stage.

First playing a noon hour Live From Studio X set for local radio station XRT and some 50 contest winners at tiny Chicago rock club Reggie's, the band sampled the audience with acoustic renditions of new tunes "Right Action" and "Bullet" as well as the clear highlight -- a spirited take on the classic "Take Me Out" from their not-even-a-decade old debut Franz Ferdinand.

During the acoustic set, the band discussed their writing process (the line "come home, practically all is nearly forgiven" from "Right Action" was culled from a found postcard), the prospect of breaking up during their less than two year hiatus (virtually none), and favorite memories of past Chicago shows, including an early stop at the bar venue The Empty Bottle where guitarist Nick McCarthy smashed lead singer Alex Kaprano's guitar. "Yeah, a great show" they both recalled.

Though always interesting to see artists deconstruct their work, even Kapranos admitted it's hard to display the full power of their songs unplugged, so when the action later turned to the Vic Theatre they didn't hold anything back.

Opening with "Bullet," they burst from the stage with a raw intensity unmatched earlier in the day, and didn't slow down as they barreled right into one of their best songs, "The Dark of the Matinee." With Kapranos strutting across the stage, and executing precision mid-air leaps alongside McCarthy's reality defying, perpetual motion machine-like guitar playing, the band brought their new material to life. The climax came when both Kapranos and McCarthy climbed atop their THOUGHTS / WORDS / ACTIONS emblazoned amps for "This Fire" before bringing the house down with the band's biggest hit "Take Me Out."

Closing the evening with an encore consisting of "Outsiders," the upbeat dancer "Michael," and the fitting "Goodbye Lovers & Friends," Franz Ferdinand put on a raging show that demonstrated the full power of one of this era's great rock acts.
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