New York City's French Kicks made a stop at the Double Door in Chicago over the weekend and by the time they took the stage (11pm), the sold out venue was filled to capacity. The French Kicks are currently on tour with Idlewild and supporting their StarTime International debut, One Time Bells, but about half of their hour-long set was dedicated to new, yet to be released material. I've seen The French Kicks once before, and since, the band has recruited a new member to take over time-keeping duties. The last time I saw them, and for most of the band's career, singer Nick Stumpf handled both lead vocals and the drums. His tall, lanky physique dancing behind the drum kit was a major reason why I became such a fan of their live show and I was really interested to see how the new line up panned out.
At first, I was a little iffy about the new line up, but as the set progressed and the band began dipping into their new material, it all started to fall in place. The new drummer allows Nick to take on a "front man" roll and give 100% to his singing duties. The energy was still there. The crowd was behind them, and the band sounded better than ever. "Wrong Side," "Close To Modern," "Right In Time," and my personal favorite "When You Heard You" were all touched upon throughout the set, but it was the band's new material that impressed me the most. Nick would preface each tune by telling the crowd, "this is a new one." These new songs were more straight-forward and rocking than the majority of One Time Bells, but the quirky vibe that gives The French Kicks that je ne sais quoi remains intact.
While One Time Bells is still in regular rotation on my personal iTunes Top 25, I absolutely can't wait to get a hold of these new songs. In the meantime, check out the new video for "When You Heard You" on the latest Cornerstone Player (.040).