MTV Review: Franz Ferdinand Rock Somerset House
The band turned Somerset House into an indie disco dance floor...
Fresh from their fantastic performance at T in the Park, Scotland’s infectious indie rock foursome Franz Ferdinand swapped the King Tut’s Tent for a London gig venue fit for royalty.
Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy, Bob Hardy and Paul Thomson were on fine form again as they played a career-spanning set for Somerset House’s latest Summer Series show.
Feeling: Summer’s evening in the capital. Stunning location. Superb live band. What more could you want?
Look: Very strong, with all four members of Franz rocking black, white and grey matching patchwork. Completely covered in white, their amps looked like fridges.
Tunes: Sounding slower than on record, opening tracks No You Girls, The Dark of the Matinée, Right Action and Do You Want To are singles from each of their four albums – gearing us up for a night of greatest hits.
Evil Eye, Bullet and Love Illumination off last summer’s LP Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action go down great with the crowd, but unsurprisingly and understandably Take Me Out from their Mercury Prize-winning self-titled debut still gets the biggest reaction. What, a, tune! Tonight it sounds as dead brilliant as it did a decade ago.
Banter: Not a huge amount. Frontman Alex lets his hips do the talking and pivots across the stage. Being a Scottish gent, he also compliments “beautiful” Somerset House several times during the evening.
Bass player Bob is expressionless throughout – pacing three steps forward and then three steps back, over and over again. But whenever he makes decent eye contact with a Franz fan loving their set, we see a wee smile and we stop worrying he would rather be elsewhere.
Special Guests: The Vaccines bassist Árni Árnason is at the gig but sadly he doesn’t join the Glasgow group on-stage to play and swing his long blond locks.
One pleasant surprise was, during the outro of Goodbye Lovers & Friends, their cover of Fat White Family’s terrifically dark Touch the Leather. Such an established band covering one so hotly-tipped this year was genuinely refreshing.
Sweat Factor: Somerset House feels too posh to mosh, so if anyone was seriously sweating they really need a better deodorant.
Summary: Infectious and turning Somerset House into an indie disco dancefloor, Franz Ferdinand remain a live force to be reckoned with.
By Ben Lowe