Thursday 22 October 2009

Franz Ferdinand - Bournemouth 21st October 2009

Franz Ferdinand - are a Scottish indie band, four guys, three guitars and a drummer (with a few synths thrown in).

I'd liked their stuff since their first hit, "Take Me Out" and have bought their 3 albums, but I wouldn't describe myself as a die-hard fan.

I can't recall exactly how I discovered they were playing live at the Bournemouth Opera House (now re-re-renamed the O2 Academy), but I do remember being slightly shocked that such a 'big' group were playing the small, intimate venue and I decided it was too good a chance to miss.

My teenage daughter tagged along and we got there just in time to be soaked by a downpour as we queued to get in. We could've dodge the queue and stayed dry if I'd had my PAYG O2 mobile with me! Worth knowing if you have an O2 phone...

Whilst I don't think of myself as 'Old' just yet, I'm old enough that the Academy (as it was then) was my Saturday night stomping ground 25 years ago, but although it'd had a lick of paint and some trendy new lighting, the venue is little changed (I guess it's protected, being a Victorian music hall).

At 8PM the support act came on. MusicGoMusic are an LA group, fronted by a frighteningly thin (but quite charismatic) girl. Over to the left were two guitarists (one looking like a long-haired Garth Marenghi and the other like Gareth from 'The Office'!), a drummer at the back and to the right a bequiffed and besuited keyboardist.

To be honest, the sound balance wasn't great for MGM, with the singer's voice being drowned by the instruments, but what I could hear suggested they're worth a listen when they release their first material. Their overall sound was good for a crowd here to listen to Franz Ferdinand and they were, on the whole, well received.

After the usual roadie shenanigans, Franz Ferdinand came on around 9:15.

Straight into "No you Girls", they wasted no time producing a crowd pleasing set, ploughing through most of their hits and some lesser known tracks from all 3 albums.

No You Girls
Do You Want To
The Dark Of The Matinée
Tell Her Tonight
Can't Stop Feeling
Send Him Away
This Fire
Turn It On
Take Me Out

The sound was excellent for Franz Ferdinand, with Alex's distinctive voice clear over the instruments (although they clearly see themselves as musicians as their guitar breaks showed and I couldn't quibble).

Whilst their image in videos is sometimes a little distracted and bored, their live performance is anything but, it was raw, exciting and energetic.

After about 45 minutes they went off and we all awaited the usual 2 or 3 song encore.

Well, after 5 songs I stopped counting and by the time the drummer left the stage I couldn't take any more - The encore was as long as the main set!

Walk Away
Live Alone
Van Tango
Darts Of Pleasure
What She Came For
Lucid Dreams

I was convinced they were going to leave the stage after "What She Came For", because there was no question that "We got what we came for! No Doubt!".

In the end, they departed the stage one at a time after an interesting and extended version of Lucid Dreams.

I've seen a few bands over the years, but I can't honestly say I've seen a band that produced a more energetic, intimate or enjoyable set and the extended encore made me (and most of the rest of the audience I'd guess, by the happy faces as we filed out) feel as if we'd been privy to a rare treat!

If they're always this good, you owe it to yourself to go and see them!

To coin a phrase "You Could Have It So Much Better" with Franz Ferdinand

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