Got my Kicks

The French Kicks must be a <i>really</i> f*#!$@g good band!

The French Kicks must be a really f*#!$@g good band!

“This is a really fucking good band.”

I heard that a half a dozen times on Friday night, when I made it out to the Blue Lamp to check out the French Kicks, the New York city-based indie-rock group who released their third album, Two Thousand, in July 2006.

It came first from Justyn Bartels, the lead singer of the Proles, the local band that opened the night with loud drums and clear-as-day vocals. It was a promising sign to hear the endorsement from him, considering his band was pretty good, too. As the place filled up (with more hat-wearing fans than I remember seeing at any other show I’ve been to in Sacramento), the heads in the place kept bouncing appreciatively.

After a 45-minute set, Scissors for Lefty took the stage and thanked the Kicks for buying them dinner, but not before mentioning what a “fucking good band” they were. A few songs later, a Scissors band member emerged in a prison outfit, complete with black and white stripes, to dance along with the garage-rock riffs. I wondered if the two girls by the bar wearing black and white-striped shirts were huge fans or just coincidentally coordinated.

Finally, at midnight, the French Kicks made it onstage. They opened with “Also Ran,” and as the lyrics dripped off the lips of frontman Nick Stumpf, I heard it again, this time from a friend who had accompanied me to the show. And this time, it really resonated—they were a fucking good band! Although the Kicks are endlessly compared to the Walkmen for their twinkling guitars and piano, they were somehow quieter and less dramatic that Friday night. Their songs were decorated with romantic piano and thick vocals that echoed off the walls.

Several songs later, I was at the mercy of the bathroom line, waiting for the only women’s stall at the Blue Lamp. And although I was stranded far from the band, the sounds I heard coming from the stage were enough to satisfy me while I waited. They tugged at my heartstrings and sunk into my lungs with each breath. Their set was perfectly timed, and just when we thought it was over, the band re-emerged for an encore and sang Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”