There’s nothing quite like the combined smell of sweaty hair and runny mascara, and given that 150 ticket buyers and the same amount of guest list liggers had been packed into the tiny Macbeth pub in London’s Hoxton for a good three hours on the hottest day of the year, the air had started to thicken a bit.
All were there to see Franz Ferdinand air the new material they’ve been working on for their third album. Strolling out to a rapturous reception at nearly 11pm, the foursome warmed the already clammy crowd up by launching straight into sing-along favourite ‘Jacqueline’, the big, bad bass shaking the whole room.
Instantly you knew there was going to be no chance of moving, pissing or getting anywhere near the bar for the entirety of the set, although there was little worry about getting a drink, everyone was so tightly packed, we were getting drunk by osmosis.
Two new songs followed, ‘Send Him Away’ and ‘A New Thrill’, all choppy guitars and tub-thumping drums. Looking relaxed and pumped up, Alex Kapranos leapt around the stage and he and the rest of the band looked like they were loving every minute of being back in such a small venue. “Thanks very much. We’re called Franz Ferdinand.” The lead singer bashfully said, harking back to a time when they actually had to tell people who they were. One more new song, ‘Kathryn Kiss Me’ was followed by a foot stomping rendition of ‘Dark Of The Matinee’ and then a sinister, keyboard electro-storm of ‘Ulysses’ of which rumours abounded on the smoking terrace afterwards is going to be the first single.
The set closer was yet another ominous sounding new track ‘What She Came For’.
With no chance of the four getting out of the building without an encore, they duly came back to the hollers and cheers, to finish off the evening with an ethereal version of Outsiders and then legged it after another forthcoming song, the upbeat ‘Turn It On’.
The new songs went down a storm, so much so the ageing record label men either side of me drunkenly congratulated themselves and each other on how good the music was and how cool they were for being pissed 45 year-olds at a gig.
This new material seems to have a more violent edge to them than their predecessors, delivered by smiling, snappily dressed young men. There’s something Clockwork Orange-esque going on here…