Gig review: Franz Ferdinand and Albert Hammond Jr at O2 Academy Leeds

Dressed in a leather jacket and T.Rex T-shirt, Albert Hammond Jr walked onstage to a surprisingly muted Monday evening crowd.

Tuesday, 20th February 2018, 12:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th February 2018, 12:20 pm
Franz Ferdinand. Picture: David Edwards
Franz Ferdinand. Picture: David Edwards

Playing tracks from his new album Francis Trouble, Hammond Jr tried his best to whip up a reaction, but as with Carl Barat without The Libertines, Hammond without The Strokes is intriguing but far less exciting. More of a murmur than full on stroke.Kicking off with Lazy Boy from new album Always Ascending, Franz Ferdinand were on fire from the outset. Leaping around the stage and grinning throughout, the band returned to Leeds 02 Academy performing a blistering set of their angular art-rock discography.

Older favourites Take Me Out, Jaqueline and Ulysses have aged well with over a decade of touring behind them, the band more mature and more competent than ever.

Dark of the Matinée has taken on a Chic-esque new funk direction, whilst Alex Kapranos’ Wilko Johnson-inspired guitar antics unrelentlessly whizzed and blurred around the stage.

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Kapranos has always had a voice to match David Byrne, however as Franz morph further and further into Talking Heads territory, the music has transcended more than a few hip indie singles from 2000s, and are now a genuine British institution worthy of their place in music history.

Having played for over an hour, the band returned to perform an encore even more powerful than the main set. Cranking up the pace even further, Always Ascending, Love Illumination and a haunting moody extended cut of This Fire, saw the audience bouncing in unison as the band crescendoed to the finish line.

An Academy Award winning show, Franz Ferdinand are back.