Franz Ferdinand, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
Scots prove you can have it so much better second time around
Wednesday 31 August 2005
Franz Ferdinand's lead singer is referring to his band's planned appearance at Edinburgh's annual Hogmanay party of New Year 2003/04, a date which found itself cancelled amidst torrential rain and saw the band playing in a friend's living-room up the road instead. Of course, that was back when a handful of Scottish scenesters and music industry trendspotters knew who they were. Should they try that today, 5,000 people would be behind them ringing the buzzer.
No more than a matter of weeks after that night their second single, "Take Me Out", had broken them as a national top-three charting band, and the rest - like their namesake Archduke Ferdinand himself - is history. So it's fitting, perhaps, that they finally get to play Princes Street Gardens as the first stage of the next chapter in their thus far meteoric career.
It's fair to say that whoever has guided Franz Ferdinand's hand this far has an uncanny knack for timing. Or perhaps it's Kapranos, McCarthy, Hardy and Thomson - with their finely honed pop musical sensibilities - who knew just how much to milk the eponymous first album in terms of single releases and live tours so that it became over-familiar but not boring. So the forthcoming You Can Have It So Much Better ... With Franz Ferdinand is a big deal to those who care about such things. Those who believe, that is, that pop music still has every right to hark back to a golden era when personality, longevity and true heartfelt excitement mattered at least as much as the current graveyard of commercial imperatives.
The Franz camp have already fired their warning shot, and it's made everyone sit up and take notice. Yet the placing of the comeback single "Do You Want To" amid this striking return to the live arena signalled a clear statement of intent. Around two thirds of the way through the show the band's up until now definitive anthem, "Take Me Out", was played, and everyone thronging the grassy hill before the stage - and probably those listening on Princes Street above - went predictably crazy.
Directly after that, with not a word from Kapranos and barely a beat skipped, came "Do You Want Me" - the continuing and frenzied reaction from the crowd speaking volumes of their approval.
Elsewhere, Franz Ferdinand - for the first time playing before a live video projection, in artful monochrome of course - seemed to have taken their ever-present Germanic influences one step further. Not only do the shirted, suited quartet look like Hamburg-era Beatles, but "What You Get" is a more angular ringer for the sound. It's not all about reinvention, however - "I'm Your Villain" sits alongside "Michael", "Darts of Pleasure" and "This Fire" as an update of New Wave classicism. Just like Talking Heads, Gang of Four, the Fire Engines ... but refreshing in their Modernist reappraisals.
The second round begins here. And already Franz Ferdinand are winning on points.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 Chelsea victory parade: Chelsea mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 3 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 4 Woman, 21, dies after taking contraceptive pill that 'caused fatal blood clot'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
The New York Times sparks criticism after releasing an all-white reading list
Glastonbury lineup 2015: The Women's Institute to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
Dheepan, film review: Palme d'Or prize goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Game of Thrones, The Gift, Season 5, Episode 7: Why two of the show’s most iconic characters just met
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people