Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Franz Ferdinand tear up Mandela Hall

Franz Ferdinand’s lead singer Alex Kapranos

Having committed one of pop's cardinal sins by being perceived as too clever, Franz Ferdinand are in danger of becoming the Gail Trimble of the music business.

Their most recent album 'Tonight' has been ho-hummed by the highbrows for not being enough of a radical departure, yet when you can lead off with a stomper like 'Ulysses' there's more than an element of 'If it ain't broke'. Live, well...

At a full to bursting Mandela last night they tore up the place, seamlessly mixing in songs from the new album with crowd favourites, confident enough to open with the new 'Bite Hard' before the inevitable Belfast singalong with 'Matinee'.

Highlights abounded, with 'Walk Away' from their second album preparing the ground for the inevitable slam dunk trampled underfootness of 'Take me out'.

Alex Kapranos exudes star quality, channelling Elvis and John Barrowman in equal measure but for me it was the guitar chest cradling and keyboard playing Nick McCarthy who provided the band with its attack and texture, his colleagues tight enough to avoid any hint of a James Brown style fine.

The aforementioned 'Ulysses' twinned with the gauche gayness of 'Michael' was the set's apogee, leading to a thrilling drum set bashing encore.

Whether it was Belfast, or just a band at the peak of its powers, there is no sense of 3rd Album ennui. This is existential angst as low down dirty rock and roll.

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