10/11/15 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
10/13/15 Hollywood, CA Hollywood Palladium
10/14/15 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
10/15/15 Oakland, CA Fox Theater
DJ Jake Rudh played various 70s/80s music videos on screen while fans waited for the first band to go on stage. We've seen his playlist before, plenty of British-invasion favorites like David Bowie, The Buzzcocks, The Who, The Jam, etc.
You can tell by the way they handled themselves on stage, that they've been around and have been making and playing live music for a long time.
We couldn't believe that FFS decided to add Minneapolis to one of their 11 North American tour dates. They've already played/headlined massive music festival (Glastonbury Festival), so seeing them at First Avenue was a much better experience than the crowded festival scene.
Although officially formed/announced on 9 March 2015, the two bands have been recording and collaborating on and off since mid-2000s. The record came out in June 2015, and in August announced their North American tour.
While we expected the band to play their entire self-titled debut album, we were surprised to see that they decided to throw in a few Sparks ("The Number One Song in Heaven", "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us", and "When Do I Get to Sing 'My Way'") and Franz Ferdinand ("Do You Want To", "Michael", and "Take Me Out") songs.
The two Sparks brothers Ron and Russell Mael, clearly stood out. Russell was singing and dancing and very animated compared to his brother Ron, who is expressionless and remained quietly behind the keyboard ... that is until "The Number One Song in Heaven", which had Ron take center stage, loosen his tie, and then proceeded to do a 50s style dance.
FF's Alex Kapranos and Spark's Russell Mael handled most of the singing, so I was surprised to see guitarist Nick McCarthy take lead vocals for "Things I Won't Get".
Based on the strong reactions to the Franz Ferdinand songs (particularly for "Do You Want To" and "Take Me Out"), it's clear to me that the majority of fans were familiar with FF's pop/rock songs. Sparks, on the other hand, has always been on the weird / quirky / experimental side that appeal to a smaller, niche audience.
Both bands collaborated to produce some of the most interesting pop songs on the FFS album. It's smart, it's catchy, it's fun, and it's uniquely FFS. While I do not think there will be a sequel in the future, this was, by far, the most interesting team-up we've seen in a while.
FFS' self-titled debut album is available now via Domino.
FFS at First Avenue, Minneapolis (09 October 2015)