Franz Ferdinand, Barrowlands, Glasgow

A gleeful return - but where are the new songs?
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The Independent Culture

If Franz Ferdinand continue on their current trajectory they'll probably have cured cancer, Alzheimer's and world hunger by the time they hit their 40s. Just one year ago - give or take a couple of weeks - they were playing a modest gig at their spiritual home in Glasgow rock pub Stereo (a bar not much bigger than an average living room in the West End flats which surround it).

If Franz Ferdinand continue on their current trajectory they'll probably have cured cancer, Alzheimer's and world hunger by the time they hit their 40s. Just one year ago - give or take a couple of weeks - they were playing a modest gig at their spiritual home in Glasgow rock pub Stereo (a bar not much bigger than an average living room in the West End flats which surround it).

Fast forward one year, and the premises have expanded to fit the size of the celebration - top-three singles, a mammoth debut album, substantial overseas success and, of course, a Mercury Music Prize.

This is the gig on everyone's lips - Glasgow's underground beats to a rhythm of frantic, New Wave guitars and never-ending afterparties, populated by Oxfam-attired fops and girls with hairstyles that could hang in the Tate Modern. So Franz Ferdinand represent the zeitgeist of the city in the same way that the Smiths, the Stone Roses and Oasis defined the Mancunian mentality for two decades, and The Libertines held the pulse of London in 2003.

Only one of the aforementioned bands, of course, has managed to attain any sort of lasting commercial success, but then the Gallagher brothers' critical standing has suffered for it. So the Franz may be riding the crest of a pretty spectacular wave at the moment, but the next year of their existence in the public eye will inevitably define their memory.

Will they be a once-successful anachronism remembered only by music journalists and record-collecting junkies? Or can they sustain the momentum and achieve true "band of an era'' status?

The suggestions were there last night, but for any band settled in the eye of the storm the overriding concern is to enjoy it while it lasts. They and their audience certainly did so, with Alex Kapranos settling into his role as 1980s fashion revenant extraordinaire with a reflective purple suit, and fellow guitarist Nick McCarthy sporting a cravat that any of Glasgow's hard-man fashionistas would be spectacularly brave to adopt.

From the opening "Michael" - the only bisexually curious anthem that a Glaswegian male will ever sing along to - to the predictably gargantuan response which greets "Take Me Out", "Darts Of Pleasure" and the pulsating encore "Shopping For Blood", the whole set was met with glee. But the fact that no new songs make an appearance, and that tumultuous finale "This Fire" is the album's fifth single raised concerns of water being treaded.

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