Originally published by Entertainment Ireland on 24 March 2014. To read the original, please click here
TEN YEARS ON since THAT debut, Franz Ferdinand are not the Young Turks they were when they burst onto the scene in 2004: in 2014, Franz Ferdinand is not the trendiest name to drop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, nor London’s Brick Lane.
What Franz Ferdinand are- and how quickly we can take Glasgow’s finest for granted- are a band brimming with tight tunes: structurally solid songs with more muscular riffs, pulsating rhythms, sing-along choruses and witty lyrics than at which you can shake an irony- laden t-shirt.
Opening with ‘Bullet’, the opening song of the second side of 2013’s return- to- form Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, following 2009’s misstep Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, Kapranos and Co. immediately follow ‘Bullet’ with two cuts from Franz Ferdinand– ‘The Dark of the Matinée’ and ‘Tell Her Tonight’- before returning to Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action territory with standout single ‘Evil Eye’. The opening four tunes, correctly, align their 2004 debut with their latest effort, both albums being two sides of the same coin.
Indeed, the Domino Recording Company band draw eight songs from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, six from Franz Ferdinand, and four each from You Could Have It So Much Better and Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.
What the band demonstrates best at tonight’s sold out show, however, is their intuitive understanding of dynamics. The opening stompers are soon followed by tender ballads ‘Fresh Strawberries’ (Right Thoughts…) and ‘Walk Away’ (You Could Have It So Much Better), confidently omitting ‘Eleanor Put Your Boots On’, their gorgeous 2006 single, stressing the sheer range of their song- writing.
Better still, the band eschew insincere banter with the audience, instead milking the hooks, phrases and middle eights of standout songs with no small amount of sardonic showbiz schmaltz. The opening phrase to ‘Take Me Out’ is played to galleries for well over half a minute, the breaks in the ending hook of a rapturously received ‘Do You Want To’ are repeated at almost a dozen times than the recorded version and the slow- tempo verses of ‘The Dark of the Matinée’ are stressed to give that song’s barnstorming chorus more punch and vigour.
The most telling moment of tonight’s gig, however, comes from the preamble to ‘Fresh Strawberries’, a self- deprecating, a new tune from Right Thoughts… that chronicles the fall from grace of a once thriving mid- noughties band. Dedicating ‘Fresh Strawberries’ to tonight’s support act, Leeds quintet Eagulls, Kapranos sings the opening verse of We are fresh strawberries / Fresh burst of red strawberries / Ripe, turning riper in the bowl / We will soon be rotten / We will all be forgotten / Half remembered rumours of the old.
Of course, no- one here, tonight, really believes that Franz Ferdinand is noughties survivors; rather, I expect they think that the Glaswegian lads done good have still got the right tunes, right moves and are hitting all the right notes.