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The era of skinny-jean clad indie rock might be on the wane but even in 2013, 90 minutes spent with Franz Ferdinand is 90 minutes well spent. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since the Glaswegian foursome arrived en scene, bearing one of the most catchy and memorable rock songs of the decade in Take Me Out. Although they do stick to a tried and true formula, Franz Ferdinand have rarely crafted a bad tune, and this consistency is the strength of their live show.
Playing to a sold-out and unflinchingly enthusiastic crowd, most of whom were serious fans, Franz Ferdinand delivered the goods with favourite after favourite, all rendered with urgency, power and a restless energy. Mixing in tracks from their new album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action with their impressive back catalogue, Franz Ferdinand showed us the results from 10 years of recording and performing: a slick, fun live show and 1500 people swaying and jumping in time.
With an uncanny knack for predicting the crowd’s mood, lead singer Alex Kapranos exchanged pleasantries — “So happy to be here in Melbourne” — before launching into a series of hits: Matinee, Evil Eye, No You Girls, and Can’t Stop Feeling.
It was a consummate rock gig–from a blinding light show to searing guitar licks, wave-your-hands-in-the-air energy to a setlist as strong as any guitar-band going around right now. The most impressive aspect was the way in which the set seamlessly melded together. There was no big distinction between tracks old and new, loud and subdued.
Kapranos’ strong baritone owned the Forum Theatre (not the smallest of venues), from blasting out the refrain of Take Me Out, to more tender moments, such as the delicate Goodbye Lovers and Friends. Live, Kapranos cements himself as the heart and soul of Franz Ferdinand. That’s not to discount the serious chops of guitarist Nick McCarthy and the rest of the band, either, but with such a strong presence out front, it’s easy to see (and hear) why the band are a festival favourite.
With a series of indie rock classics behind them, it’s no wonder that Franz Ferdinand had the crowd in the palm of their hand the entire night. After several years out in the wilderness (it was three years from the announcement of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action to its release) it’s good to see Franz Ferdinand back in action. Fans of guitar-based indie rock will be pleased there’s still plenty on offer from these Scottish lads.
(Photo by Carbie Warbie)