Reviews

Franz Ferdinand: Live [DVD]

Dan Nishimoto

Franz enters the DVD market with more live footage of the band than you will ever need in your entire life. Lucky, lucky, you're so lucky!"


Franz Ferdinand

Live [DVD]

Label: LABEL
US Release Date: 2005-12-06
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Life for Franz Ferdinand ain't too bad. Forming in 2001, the four Scots shot from warehouse parties to arena tours within three years, largely on the strength of one song "Take Me Out". Perfectly aware of this fortunate circumstance, the band has taken the ride in stride. On each release, they have demonstrated both their trademark aptitude for pop aesthetics and playfulness toward success. Take the video for their latest single, "Do You Want To", where the group crashes its own haute pop art party while reminding the audience how lucky they are to be, well, there. Less smarmy than just plain silly, Franz Ferdinand not only bake a delicious cake and eat it, too -- they invite you to have a slice.

So, consider Franz Ferdinand - Live, the band's first true entry into the DVD market (their second album, You Could Have It So Much Better came in a limited edition DualDisc format), an arched wink at the fans. Filled primarily with live footage, the two discs offer hours of the group mugging, posing and, of course, rocking. Sure, the second disc, which contains two entire concerts, overlaps with the first disc's assortment of show footage. And, yeah, there aren't a lot of bonus trappings, aside from the karaoke tracks, the 30-minute Tour de Franz 'documentary' and even more live footage. Nevertheless, Franz Ferdinand - Live captures with precision the Franz Ferdinand experience: Franz, Franz and more Franz.

Few bands can get away with such blatant self-branding. From the tan cover throwing the Franz logo against a faded halcyon backdrop to the spare packaging featuring no credits or insight besides a dramatic b&w of the group bowing at show's end (of course, from their perspective), the entire package is meant to condense Franzness for your home entertainment. Stacking the discs one on top of the other, the message appears to be: no breaks allowed, just one Franz after the other. Yet, the approach has and continues to work, because the band delivers what their fans want... and so much more!

The live footage alone demonstrates the group's consistency. Tracking the band through every setting imaginable, from intimate club dates to football field festivals, the band runs through its shtick with unwavering resolve. While audience behavior contrasts depending on venue -- the sea of bodies bouncing to "Take Me Out" reminds one of the band's stadium-friendliness -- the band can be counted on to perform: drummer Paul Thomson tames his inner Keith Moon with a disco beat, guitarist Nick McCarthy can't stop shuffling his feet, bassist Bob Hardy pouts at his work as singer/guitarist Alex Kapranos ogles the girls. Be it at the barely 200-person capacity Piano's in New York City or under a ginormous tent of tens of thousands in Belgium, the band stays the course. In this manner, the performances are consistent enough that even Disc One's collection of shows plays like a complete concert.

Admittedly, this accessibility should also be credited to the film direction. With professional film stock and artful close-ups of all your favorite Ferdinands, each performance is treated with true cinematic care. The complete show at Brixton opens dramatically with a quick pan over the crowd before closing in on the band hidden behind a translucent curtain of Archduke Ferdinand's likeness, their silhouettes pummeling a carpal-tunnel inducing workout of "Michael." As the curtain rises and the song explodes, the footage goes edit-happy as if in tandem with the strobe show, cutting from close-ups of McCarthy's guitar to Kapranos' dramatic vogues. Consider it Last Waltz for the E generation.

While Franz Ferdinand - Live heaps on the live goodness, it skimps noticeably on other features. The karaoke idea, which is pure brilliance, offers cheeky Russ Meyers-ish footage and vintage Japanese lettering (remember where karaoke came from?) to allow fans to get their Franz on at home. However, with only two tracks ("Take Me Out" and "Dark of the Matinee"), you best have some alternate entertainment options. The bonus live footage is mostly hand-cam, home-movie style and interesting only to get backstage views of audience members getting kicked off the stage. Finally, the hilarious Tour de Franz (Franz!) 'documentary' pokes fun at the mockumentary as the band loafs about post-show ("What do we do now? Drugs?"), reflects on stardom ("They're all younger than the students I used to teach") and writes freelance music reviews ("Tori Amos, Evening Primrose Oil, the closest we've felt to being a woman"). Often times, a band member's natural charm surpasses their onstage persona, making it a shame there isn't more footage like this. Small irony then that the biggest me-band should forget to give y'all enough me? Oh, but you should be so lucky to even have this much!

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image