December 20, 2003
Franz Ferdinand : Islington Academy
New Scottish boys on the block enjoy a London stroll...
Usually when a band suggests they'll be on stage at 9pm it really means they'll totter on – most times scratching their greasy nads - around half past at the earliest. When Franz Ferdinand say it, they mean it. On the dot – and, as we all know, punctuality is the new heroin, which makes FF very rock 'n' roll indeed.
Franz Ferdinand are a proper package - they come complete with a sharp look (wedge 'n' bowl haircuts, short sleeve shirts), an attitude (an air of detached amusement) and a neatly defined sound (a sly, rhythmic angularity with flashes of early '80s types like Fall, Orange Juice or Gang Of Four). When Titian-topped bass person Bob thrums his lairy Rickenbacker all over the rigid fury of 'Tell Her Tonight', his eyes scope out the entire crowd and the weight of his intentions make his knees buckle. During "'Auf Asche'" the ghost of early Talk Talk scowls down from above the stage. Guitarist / keyboardist Nick squeezes great lumps of noise fills him with such obvious pleasure that he dances on the spot like a man unfamiliar with the concept of self-consciousness. Later, singer Alex, barely breaking sweat under his set-square precise wedge, will lean back into the deepening well of noise his bandmate's build around the clanking bones of '40 Foot' and clearly lose himself entirely for a minute or more. Interestingly, his eyes-rolling-back reverie reaches an intensity that would get someone not in a pop group sectioned on the spot. But he is. So it's alright.
Then, at the precise moment FF start to come across as a little daunting they play 'Take Her Out' which marries knuckle-draggingly moronic, thump-a-long dynamics to the spun-out, mid-'60s melodic-suss of The Lovin' Spoonful's 'Summer In The City' and I realise how much fun they're actually having.
After precisely 39 minutes they stop and the last thought I have is about how great Funkadelic would be playing the hits of Chas 'n' Dave. But then, I am on drugs.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday
- Previous : Basement Jaxx: : Bristol Academy : Wednesday 3 December
- Next : Strokes : Alexandra Palace: Saturday December 6