The Michigan Daily discovered in February of 2007 that several articles written by arts writer Devika Daga did not meet the newspaper’s standard of ethical journalism. Parts of these stories had been plagiarized from other sources. The article below contains passages taken from The Harvard Crimson and chartattack.com, and the Daily no longer stands by its content.

Angela Cesere
Angela Cesere
Angela Cesere
Angela Cesere
The French Kicks played a lackluster show for a lackluster turnout. (PHOTOS BY ANGELA CESERE/Daily)

You’ve probably never heard of the French Kicks, and neither has America. They’ve occasionally been mentioned in passing in the same breath as The Strokes and The Libertines. They’re pillars of the rock renaissance – kind of. They’re quite an exciting indie band, if you’re into that scene, raising hairs and eyebrows and taking the country by storm – if they can get away with it.

The French Kicks, in other words, are teetering on the edge of fame. Their last album, Two Thousand, sold twice as many copies as their sophomore release, Trial of the Century. The press, however, remains ambivalent, and with decent but not astounding record sales, the Kicks can only try to entice a following live on stage.

Sunday night at The Blind Pig, though, the band left much to be desired. If they set out to seduce an audience, their performance was alarmingly cold.

Leading the charge onstage without so much as a “Heyhowzitgoing,” the lanky Nick Stumpf looked the part of a frontman, decked out in Chucks and a sly grin. His slack-jawed vocal stylings buried deep in the mix, he slurred his words, singing like he was constantly sucking back streams of drool into his mouth. With his head tilted back and spine straightened at attention, Stumpf looked like a less-soused version of Robert Pollard and was by far the focal point of the performance.

As a whole, the Kicks’ arrangements were tight and allowed to loosen in places, and yet there were very few moments that added to the prowess of their studio recordings. Especially with stronger tracks like “Knee High” and “The Falls,” it would have been nice to see those guys stretch out a little more and see where they could take these tunes. Instead, most renditions were far too faithful and the set lacked variety.

The only true swerve of the Kicks’ performance was the guitar histrionics of Josh Wise. While his detached demeanor made him seem less like The Edge and more like a member of the custodial staff, there’s no denying the influence when he laid on the reverb and the drama in “Cloche.”

Still, it takes more than a few dapper licks to fuel a performance, and by mid-set, the Kicks had fallen into something of a rut, playing the part of a drained touring act to a tee. Indeed, the band’s inability to excite the audience – or draw in a crowd, period – speaks volumes to their continued status as a fledgling indie band.

Of their last three headlining shows, the Kicks haven’t managed to bring in more than 40 people – and according to many concertgoers, their performances have been disappointing to say the least.

At The Blind Pig, for example, the crowd was left stunned when the band abruptly ended their show out of what seemed to be sheer frustration: With a final strum of the guitar, Strumpf said goodbye, lights went out and the audience exited – perhaps all too quickly.

But on tour with OK Go!, the band has managed to pull in a following, but probably by default.

Sans encore and tr

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