Franz Ferdinand at the Olympia Theatre – Review & Photos
Franz Ferdinand at The Olympia Theatre
March 23rd, 2014
There’s a supersonic, punked up, popped out rock n’ roll festival unfurling itself onstage at The Olympia. Four Scottish fellas in funny suits are strutting about like fender playing peacocks, ruffling their magnificent musical feathers, creating more melodrama than the omnibus edition of Coronation Street.
This was meant to be a reasonable mid March, school night gig. Until Franz Ferdinand launched themselves onstage and gave a tsunami of a performance. You’d never think they’ve been away for the last four years. Their brains have been germinating these gems of glam rockness, delivered with just a hint of Jarvis Cocker camp and that Bowie, kinda talking kinda singing thing.
Hitting us with “Bullet“ first, fresh from their new album “Right Words, Right Thoughts, Right Actions”. Instant and uplifting, you wouldn’t even know it was new. Straight into “The Dark of the Matinee“, which just makes the crowd go wild. Mc Carthy on guitars whipping the girls into a frenzy leaning right into the barrier, looking for lamps to swing out of. A capacity audience going mental to every chord emitted from the fingers of these vintage wizards. Another newbie, “Evil Eye“, opening chords with hints of rocky horror vocals to match the title.
“Well… Do ya? Do ya? Do ya wanna?“ asks Alex, eyebrows arched, hand on slinky hips pouting out “You’re so lucky, lucky, lucky.” Yes. And don’t we know it. Acrobatic guitar jumps, splits in the air, animal drum solos from the eyeball drum kit, 90’s disco lights, rave green lasers. This is definitely more festival than gig.
A decade of musical decadence follows with hits from all four albums. Highlights from Right Thoughts “Strawberries“ a lyrical paradox prodder “We are fresh strawberries/ A fresh burst of red strawberries/Ripe turning riper in the bowl/We will soon be rotten/We will all be forgotten/Half remembered rumours of the old“. The irony delivered with pomp and ceremony. “Take Me Out“, almost puts holes in the floor. Vibrations from the dancing fans drilling through every nut and bolt in the place. “Brief Encounters“ a clever observation on destiny and fate illustrated through imagery of car keys, illicit encounters and king-size beds comes packaged in 80’s synth keyboards, reminiscent of very early Pulp with ascending vocals and invasive riffs.
The talky singy whispery style of “Ulysses“ is performed with seductive dramatic pauses, invites to get high, mischievous winks and a crowd crescendo. The usual Irish “Ole Ole Ole“ demands for an encore proved successful. “Right Action“ is inhaled and exhaled by every set of lungs in the room. From the first pluck of that 70’s repeated bass line to the last ”do do do do“ harmony, they just don’t want to let go. But let go they must as “This Fire“ literally vocally sets the city aflame. Finishing with “Goodbye Lovers and Friends“, “so sad to leave you/ you can laugh as if we’re still together“ provides an apt musical conclusion. Sad but not too sad. Franz haven’t signed up for any festivals on this side of the water yet. If they do brace yourselves. You will have it so much better.
Review by Ciara Sheahan
Photos by Tudor Marian