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Arts and Entertainment

Franz Ferdinand and The Blood Arm @ Palladium, 8/27/09

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"Brothers and Sisters I have a story for you," announced a skinny man in a white collared shirt. He then relayed to us a tale of a magic man on Hollywood Blvd. who gave him magic coins that got him so high he saw Jesus. He then denounced Jesus and said that the next band would be even better than the son of God, which is a pretty tough introduction to live up to. I'm sure that had electric guitars been around when Jesus walked the earth, he would have been freakishly good at it.

I had seen this thin man before at other Blood Arm shows. He seems to be their favorite master of ceremonies/preacher, who riles the crowd up and then lets their lead singer, Nathanial Fregoso, take it from there. Fregoso is all about the banter. Between numbers he swaggers around, flirting with ladies in the audience, jumping up on amps and guardrails, and generally entertaining/annoying everyone. This evening he wrote an impromptu number for a girl named Jackie in the audience that went, "Oh Jackie, you're the only woman who could ever make me happy," and proceeded to ask her to marry him and runaway to Minnesota. Love him or hate him, Fregoso is never boring.

All that strut and swagger has made the Blood Arm one of Franz Ferdinand's favorite bands. Which is not all that surprising considering they appear to be made from the same mold. Catchy, cheeky, pop tunes that get boots tapping. But as much as they are alike, it became immediately apparent as soon as Franz Ferdinand took the stage, that the Blood Arm had been amateur hour. Used to smaller clubs like the Echo or the Bordello, the opener struggled to fill the Palladium with their presence, whereas Franz Ferdinandowned it.

It's been five years since their self titled debut came out, and although they've never been able to recreate the magic of that first album in the two that followed, Franz Ferdinand did not disappoint on Thursday. Actually I have a sneaky suspicion, that given their druthers, these lads would rather be starting dance parties then recording in a studio. There was something about the joyful menace in which Alex Kapranos said, "Los Angeles, consider yourself warned," that leads me to believe that it's not something he says to the producer before laying down some vocals. Just a hunch.

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And dance we did. After ninety minutes the entire crowd was soaked in sweat from grooving to their undeniable hits including "Take Me Out," "Do You Want to?" and "This Fire." "This Fire" actually won for unrealized awkward moment of the night. There is something so wrong about having a crowd of people singing "This fire is out of control. Gonna burn this city. Burn this city," with forest fires raging so close. That being said, Franz Ferdinand is exactly the kind of band you want if you're trying to get your date's temperature to rise. I've never seen so much making out at a rock show. On the dance floor, in the halls, even in the bathroom, there was something Ferdinand's beat that really got them going. And really, isn't that what rock 'n' roll is all about?

Set List
"Bite Hard"
"The Dark of the Matinée"
"No You Girls"
"Van Tango"
"This Fire"
"Turn It On"
"Can't Stop Feeling"
"Walk Away"
"Do You Want To"
"Take Me Out"
"What She Came For"
"The Fallen"

"Darts of Pleasure"
"Auf Achse"
"Lucid Dreams"