Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Franz Ferdinand at Electric Brixton, London - 20/08/13

Ahead of next week's release of fourth studio album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, Franz Ferdinand returned to London last night to play a sold-out gig at Electric Brixton. The intimate performance, in which tickets were initially only available to purchase through a lottery, marks the band's first London gig since 2009 - the same year that saw the release of their last studio album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. After four years, and as a long-time fan of the band, I was eager to hear the new songs, along with material from past albums, in a live setting.

The band emerged to a cheering crowd at 9:30pm and wasted no time in getting the set underway with lead single 'Right Action', from the upcoming album. This was followed by 'No You Girls' and the harmonious, bass driven grooves of 'Tell Her Tonight'. New songs 'Bullet' and 'Love Illumination' suggest a return to the former sounds of their first two records, with strong beats that kept the crowd on their feet. Of the newer material played, 'Evil Eye' and 'Stand On The Horizon' stood out as early favourites, and I look forward to hearing the studio versions of these particular tracks upon the album's release on Monday.

As exciting as pre-album release gigs are, it is inevitably difficult to get the balance of the setlist right. Playing an equal quantity of new, unreleased material, against a selection of fan favourites is just as vital as the track order, but Franz Ferdinand are a band that know what their fans want, and the setlist very much reflected this. Aside from the new songs, a large majority of the setlist comprised of tracks from their 2004 self-titled debut, with the remainder of the performance touching upon 2005's follow-up You Could Have It So Much Better and Tonight in almost equal measures. Early classics 'The Dark Of The MatinĂ©e' and 'Take Me Out' went down a treat with the crowd, though 'Jacqueline' and 'Do You Want To' were my personal highlights of the evening.

Though the band displayed brilliant musicianship throughout the gig, my only gripe is that as the night progressed, there were moments where the vocals got lost in the mix, but this certainly didn't detract from the overall solid performance that the band delivered. Not only did this gig prove that their new music shows great promise, but the early songs still sound as fresh and relevant as they did nearly ten years ago.

'Right Action' 
'No You Girls' 
'Tell Her Tonight' 
'Evil Eye' 
'Do You Want To' 
'The Dark Of The Matinée'
'Fresh Strawberries'
'Walk Away'
'Stand On The Horizon'
'The Fallen'
'This Fire'
'Take Me Out'
'Love Illumination'

'Treason! Animals'
'Goodbye Lovers & Friends'

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hidden Treasures: Falling Star - Jonah Werner

Taken from his 2006 album Better Things, Jonah Werner's 'Falling Star' is an excitable fusion of wistful vocals and dreamy melodies. Werner's direct lyrics and rhythmic vocal delivery effortlessly leads the song from verse to bridge, though it's the sweeping choruses, complete with uplifting backing harmonies, that are the true defining moments of the track.