LIVE REVIEW: Franz Ferdinand @ O2 Academy, Newcastle (16.02.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Images by Carl Chambers

Something about the night seemed like Franz Ferdinand coming home. With the surprise drop of one of their biggest hits, The Dark of the Matinée, three songs into the set before quickly bouncing into the new release with Glimpse of Love, then thrashing out classic hipster-baiting banger Do You Want To, they quickly embraced their heritage and their back catalogue.

Lead man Alex Kapranos was barely contained. A flurry of hypermobile joints and jumping jacks topped off by a shock of bleach-white hair – a David Byrne for our time – that unmistakable voice weaving a snarky scythe through trademark jangling guitars and tubthumping bass.

Infused now with a neat plop of retro electronica courtesy of new producer Philippe Zdar beaming in for fifth studio album Always Ascending, new tunes Lazy Boy, Finally and Paper Cages landed with the same force as the old hits, immediately part of their ever-broadening, but no less Franz, sound.

Straddling (despite the skinny jeans) confident and colossus-like across both art school cool and a Northern working class vibe, a shout out to Kapranos’ family in South Shields with the lushly maritime Stand on the Horizon was the beating mid-gig heart of a show that accelerated up to the one-two punch of Take Me Out and Ulysses. A blazing tripartite outro saw Always Ascending, Jaqueline and This Fire hammered out, the gang farewelled off stage by a hypnotised crowd left strobe-bathed and satiated.

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