By Leslie Witt

What sets Franz Ferdinand apart from the rest? The band’s dashing front men? Compact songs that fuse echoes of rock’s past with shouts to what’s happening now? Their effervescent, jet-propelled groove? It’s a sound all their own and one that hit just right at last night’s sold-out XRT show at Chicago’s Vic Theater.

All eyes follow lead vocalist Alex Kapranos, who punctuates the songs with high kicks and an airborne split. But when songs like “Do You Want To” simmer in the middle, he turns on the suave and seduces the crowd with lines as simple as “lucky lucky, you’re so lucky” just before the band cranks back into overdrive. With the ease of a maestro leading an orchestra, Kapranos moves the audience to synchronized arm-waving on “Ulysses” and a perfect chorus of “burn this city, burn this city” on “This Fire.” Nick McCarthy puts on a show of his own in the meantime, jumping between rhythm guitar and keyboards, while the rhythm section takes everybody for a joy ride.

The Glasgow-based quartet blasted through four album’s worth of songs, hitting highlights like “Take Me Out” and “No You Girls.” From the latest album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, came the gory, Clash-like “Evil Eye,” the British invasion flavored “Bullet” and the already popular title track, recently performed on Live On Letterman, as seen here.

In addition to the thrill of having Franz Ferdinand live at the Vic, XRT hosted the band earlier in the day in a Live From Studio X performance featuring songs and an interview with Marty Lennartz. Be on the lookout for it here at


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