About ten minutes in to Franz Ferdinand’s gargantuan 90 minute set I am struck by how bizarre a situation I have found myself in: watching Alex Kapranos and co rocking out to a full O2 acadamy. In 2014. Minus ten years and perhaps this would seem normal, but a feeling of sheer nostalgic pleasure proves impossible to resist. I suppose Bristol agreed, a hungry crowd cheered at every classic and sung along to every new song and the band themselves seemed to feel perfectly at home.
Support band Eagulls seem less at home. Not to say that they do not cause an excellent racket. Besides, the band look fairly content with confusing the percentage of the crowd who may or may not be radio 1 devotees. Piercing the silence with an immediate blast of post-punk leaning jagged angst, Eagulls may not be to this audiences taste but are certainly a band to watch.
Ferdinand’s 2013 return to the scene in the shape of ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ was, in itself, a surprise. A very nice surprise. Returning to the indie rock scene as if they had never gone away, Franz Ferdinand’s fourth studio album combined elements of their previous efforts: the punchiness of Franz Ferdinand, the sonic dynamics of Tonight and a general ear for a hit. The new record translates particularly well to the stage, ‘Stand On The Horizon’ provides a funky detour whilst ‘Love Illumination’ seems to be destined to sit along side ‘Take Me Out’ as a Franz classic.
Within their lengthy set the band manage to compile a verified greatest hits, making it abundantly clear how deserving they are of such an indulgence. Embracing their growing manipulation of synthesisers selected cuts from Tonight sound fresh and exciting whilst fan favourite ‘Auf Ausch’ seems more disco than it did way back when.
Way back when is a time that Franz Ferdinand show no fear of, and why would they? Unlike many of the buzz bands of the time, they have survived and carved out a place for themselves in the noughties and whatever this decade will be called. The crowd itself is full of parents clearly elated to be chaperoning their collective teenagers such a gig, and rightly so. Franz Ferdinand prove that they are still relevant, still exciting, happy to embrace nostalgia yet always looking to the future. Fresh Strawberries indeed.