The Adelphi, Hull. (June 22)
It’s a lot warmer in here than at the Ice Arena where we played last time,” says Alex Kapranos, wiping sweat from his fringe. “In every sense of the word.” Everybody crammed inside the tiny little Adelphi tonight can testify to the veracity of that statement. NME’s legs are perspiring. Still, it’s not every day you get the chance to see a band the size of Franz Ferdinand in a venue this small. Up close and personal? You bet.
It’s in these inauspicious surroundings that the band have chosen to road-test material for their as-yet-untitled third album, and from the fresh cuts they deliver tonight the decision to take their time over the new record might just have paid creative dividends. Evolution comes before revolution, though, with ‘Kiss Me Kathryn’, the first newie, sticking pretty faithfully to the formula that made ‘Take Me Out’ (a raucous version of which is played later on in the set) such an enormous indie dancefloor smash. That means, of course, choppy, poppy post-punk guitars, specifically those wielded by Orange Juice and The Fire Engines, and Kapranos’ mannered, Bowie-esque vocals. ‘Bite Hard’, meanwhile, is more of a macabre affair, particularly Nick McCarthy’s plaintive keyboard intro and the lyric “We die together!”. But just as you start to wonder what happened to those talked-about “shameless pop” and “funk” stylings, the answer becomes apparent towards the end of the set. The synth-heavy ‘Ulysses’ supplies the former in swathes and disco-punk stomper ‘Turn It On’ sounds like their most dancefloor-friendly effort yet, with Hot Chip producer Dan Carey’s influence looming particularly large. ‘What She Came For’, meanwhile, is a funky pop workout that culminates in a frenzied collision of guitars and synths, and sees a grinning Kapranos high-fiving practically everybody in the front row.
However long it takes for LP Number Three to finally drop, what we see tonight suggests we might be hearing a quite different – not to mention revitalised – Franz Ferdinand when it does. Ending with an energetic version of live favourite ‘This Fire’ (somewhat appropriate, given the temperature), we’re reminded once again that the best pop band of our generation are definitely worth waiting for. Now hurry