It’s been 15 years since Franz Ferdinand flooded onto the indie music scene, submerging bars and venues across the country in a sea of catchy hooks and rhythmic punches. Now, a decade and a half later, loyal fans descend upon Newcastle’s O2 Academy in light of the release of their fifth album, ‘Always Ascending’, – a record title which fittingly defines the Scottish songsmiths.
The prestigious O2 Academy is packed to capacity with excited fans ready to bask in the ambience of the evening – and they aren’t to be disappointed. Support comes from Albert Hammond Jr, best known as guitarist of The Strokes. Taking to the stage with his own four-piece band, the front-man revelled in his less familiar vocal role, delivering a commendable set filled with material from his four solo albums.
As Franz Ferdinand walk on-stage, there’s notably something different about their appearance. Frontman Alex Kaprano’s new bleach blonde quiff draws some attention, as well as the change in the band’s line-up, which sees founding member Nick McCarty replaced by Dino Bardot (guitar) and Julian Corrie (keys). Both provide a welcome addition to the band, with their talents complimenting their new electro-punk sound wholeheartedly.
Kaprano’s indisputable charisma is something to behold, with his energetic Bowie-esque showmanship captivating the crowd. However, given that the new album was only released 7 days prior to the gig, it’s no surprise that the crowd become a little distracted during newer tracks such as ‘Paper Cages’ and ‘Glimpse of Love.’
Nevertheless, the set is littered with iconic songs from the band’s entire body of work. Hits such as ‘The Dark of The Matinee’, ‘Do You Wanna’ and ‘Take Me Out’ intoxicate the crowd, leading the room to erupt into utter, brilliant chaos.
Ending the evening with ‘This Fire’ from their debut album, the band induces one last, mass sing-a-long of the night. The crowd are a hive of energy, continuing their rhythmic dancing long after the band leave the stage.
After tonight, it’s safe to say Franz Ferdinand remains as irresistible as ever. Their on-stage chemistry and catalogue of material ensure all those around them become temporarily lost in a world of technicolour. They’re Always Ascending.