Franz Ferdinand @ Rock City

Less than a week after the release of their fifth album ‘Always Ascending’, Franz Ferdinand played a headlining show at Rock City on Valentine’s Day. There were supported by American singer/songwriter Albert Hammond Jr., who is best known as the rhythm and lead guitarist from The Strokes. Both played amazing sets and made this Valentine’s a night to remember.

Albert Hammond Jr. walked onto the stage to a somewhat sceptical applause but after a couple of songs, the growing crowd warmed to him and were soon dancing along, with moshpits forming towards the end. The crowd was an odd mixture of a more mature audience and those just about to sit their GCSEs, but somehow it worked, with both bonding over the brilliant guitar solos and his rocking sound. Unfortunately, his American drawl made speeches in between songs difficult to understand, but that didn’t stop the crowd attempting to respond when prompted.

When Albert Hammond Jr. had finished, Rock City was practically full and the atmosphere was electric – thick with anticipation for Franz Ferdinand. Finally, after what seemed like an age, the five-piece Scottish indie rock band walked on stage to an insane applause, with lead singer Alex Kapranos holding a red heart-shaped balloon in a tribute to Valentine’s.

They opened with ‘Paper Cages’ from their new album, and Alex started displaying some dance moves that resembled both an overexcited mum and a student who had perhaps had too much to drink at Ocean. His star jumps would’ve impressed any fitness instructor, making it hard to believe that he is 45 years old.

Next up was ‘The Dark of the Matinee,’ and the crowd managed to create a crater of a mosh pit encompassing most of the Rock City floor, although it was fairly disappointing when it broke about ten seconds prematurely.

Other highlights included a song dedication to a ‘really fancy lady from West Bridgford’ and, of course, when ‘Take Me Out’ came on and the whole of Rock City erupted – it was what half of the crowd were waiting for. The set ended with ‘Ulysses’ then opened again with an encore lasting for about twenty minutes.

Unfortunately, the encore did seem to drag on a bit with the show feeling like it was about to finish on several occasions, especially when Alex went through the band, thanking each individual member for their amazing performance. However, their final song, ‘This Fire,’ picked up the energy and the night ended on an absolute high.

The tour continues around the UK before heading to Europe in early March, continuing to highlight the new music from ‘Always Ascending’ as well as the classic Franz Ferdinand songs originating back in 2002. With so many good tracks to choose from, there is the potential for completely different shows each night, so it’s definitely worth going along to see what’s played.

Photo courtesy of SJM Concerts.

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