In the build up to their acclaimed fourth album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’, Glaswegian art-rockers Franz Ferdinand have been relatively cautious. They've been calling at modestly sized venues, the kind they might have played as an up-and-coming band, not one Britain’s most successful.
Earlier this summer they played The Victoria, a small pub in Dalston. Now, they take to the stage at the sold-out Electric Brixton.
This calculated re-approach to Britain’s live scene is understandable, considering the foursome almost split up following their third album.
Tonight, however, the band isn’t showing any sign of fatigue. They have a confident, assured look as they jauntily move across the stage whilst playing the set opener, and lead single from the new album, ‘Right Action’. There’s little doubt they’re pleased with the results.
This isn’t merely a preview of new material, however – they’re intertwining some of their best songs from the past with the new stuff, and everything fits seamlessly. The succession of hit singles is thrilling for the tightly packed crowd. Guitarist Nick McCarthy can’t resist the enthusiastic response from those at the front – and throws himself into the crowd. They’re clearly glad to be back.
There’s a moment to breathe when ‘Fresh Strawberries’, a new album cut, begins. Despite the relatively calm reaction, it’s sounding as strong and as polished as everything else. Once it does connect with the band’s fanbase, it’ll be another track prompting trance-like devotion to every word.
The hits persist and it’s difficult to decide which their biggest song is. ‘Take Me Out’? ‘Michael’? ’No You Girls’? They’re all catchy indie-pop classics, led by charismatic frontman Alex Kapranos. They provide evidence, if it was needed, that Franz Ferdinand are nearing Pulp-like national treasure status.
An hour of material new and old flies by and, as the band leaves the stage, the roar for an encore is deafening. And return they do, with ‘Jaqueline’ generating a mosh pit to its chorus. People are truly letting their guards down. It’s good to have them back.
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Words: Cai Trefor
Photos: Rachel Lipsitz
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