Reprinted from late editions of yesterday's Globe.
What is the surest sign that a group of Scottish art school darlings have pranced over the threshold of simply being a journalist's dream band (it's all about the adjectives) and crossed firmly into popular culture? In the case of Franz Ferdinand, the stature is not measured in concert ticket sales or radio play, it's measured by the sparsity of peg leg denim, pencil waistlines, and jagged coiffures on display at its concerts.
Wednesday night's sold-out show at Agganis Arena not only drew the band's stylishly lachrymose followers, but also plenty of fans who appear to have never worn a skinny tie or attempted to sing karaoke in a faux British accent. In just a few glorious moments of the opener, ''This Boy," it was easy to see how Franz Ferdinand has managed to break from the puffery to sell out a show for fans who were more than happy to pogo along to its three-minute jalapeño bonbons. On tour to promote its second album -- and clearly having started work on a third based on the new material previewed Wednesday night -- Franz Ferdinand was confident and loose.
Alex Kapranos, lead singer and pop's biggest Beau Brummell, channeled Ray Davies and Ian McCulloch to convey just the right amount of brooding sexiness and nonchalant anger while sneering ''All the girls I hate, all the boys I hate, all the words I hate" on ''The Dark of the Matinee." By all rights, women should have been tearing lustily at their blouses and rushing the stage when Kapranos asked ''Do you want to go where I've never let you before?" Sadly, no blouses were torn.
When pixie-like Nick McCarthy switched from guitar to keyboard and then started playing a cocksure one-handed solo, it was more than tolerable because Franz Ferdinand's set built upon a solid foundation of pop and delicious winks to the audience.
Seattle-based opener Death Cab for Cutie made for an odd pairing. While Franz Ferdinand compresses its harmonies into quick bursts of song, DCFC is more interested in stretching out its music. Having won over a broader audience through ''The O.C." the band has moved on to playing arena shows, but its songs are sometimes too fragile to hold up in a large setting.
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com.