REVIEW: Franz Ferdinand at Somerset House
Ten years on and Franz Ferdinand still rule the roost when it comes to no-nonsense guitar pop...
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In the last ten years we've been through Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and a coalition government. Sounds scary when we put it like that, huh? But there's one constant from the last ten years we've always been able to rely on, come rain or glorious sunshine, and that's Franz Ferdinand's ability to make us forget all our troubles with infectious, jangly guitar-based disco pop.
From their eponymous 2004 debut to last year's Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, Alex Kapranos and his troupe of merry troubadours have never disappointed, building their lives shows on the pillars of slick production, incendiary guitar licks and no-nonsense pop hooks. It's easy to forget how many hits they've had over the years outside of Take Me Out, but whether it's The Fallen, Dark of the Matinee, or Right Action, the width and breadth of their entire career gets a sound and solid hearing in the (quite frankly) beautiful setting of London's Somerset House.
But it's not just the singles the devoted thousands have turned up to shout back with as much gusto as can be managed on a typical Wednesday night. Little-known gems like Jacqueline are met with the same enthusiasm as a stonking riff-tastic crowd favourite like Ulysses.
And, of course, we can't mention Franz Ferdinand without their nod to open sexualities, Michael – and anthemic ode to same-sex love from back in 2004. A time when we here at GT were muddling through our GCSEs, and guitar bands seemed to be cut from the same mould of fancy haircuts, leather jackets and writing songs about fucking a girl in a nightclub toilet. Franz Ferdinand were the exception to the rule, and event today they continue to do what no other band can do – be themselves.
The last song of the encore, as is traditional at a Franz Ferdinand, is This Fire. One of the most sublimely raucous guitar-based pop songs of the last ten, 15, 20-or-so years. As Alex climbs an amplifier and screams the song's refrain "this fire is out of control, we're going to burn this city", we're inclined to believe him. But the fire isn't born of embers and ash, call us cliche, but to us, t's a burning spirit from inside the band and its fans.
It's been a while since Franz Ferdinand have ruled the roused and toped the charts, granted, but the four-piece is as tight and polished as ever, proving that while indie rock bands have come and subsequently fallen out of fashion, Franz are still unfaltering in doing what they do best – unabashed, no nonsense pop.
Words Ryan Butcher, @ryanjohnbutcher
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