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LIVE REPORT: Franz Ferdinand
Matthew Foster , August 22nd, 2013 11:51

A trip to Electric Brixton to see the eternally youthful Glaswegians makes Matthew Foster feel his age. Photos by Valerio Berdini

Franz Ferdinand haven't aged in nine years, whereas I've put on about two stone and had my face melted by the merciless hairdryer of time. It's not fair, but then the fact that Franz are still going strong probably doesn't seem fair to many of the now-defunct noughties-peers who rode on their coat-tails, from whichever particular branch of Subway they're now working. Ten years into a career that began with an unimpeachably brilliant, inescapable pop song that ought to have eclipsed everything they've done since, Franz are still very much alive.

They pack tonight's set with cuts from the upcoming fourth LP, cramming in eight new ones alongside a bunch of tracks from the 2004 debut. It's as though they're pitching the new record as the true follow-up to FF, although the exotic, wonderfully silly rant 'Evil Eye' has a touch of the underrated 'Tonight' about it. The breezy 'Fresh Strawberries' seems a little drowned out, sandwiched as it is between a stately 'Matinee' and an almost aggressively sexy 'Michael', but 'Stand on the Horizon' boasts a beautiful final few minutes and an unexpectedly hushed acapella ending with which the crowd are happy to comply. Of course, the kids at the front already know the riotous 'Bullet' off by heart, and if those skulking at the back choose to shuffle to the bar and wait for the hits while Paul Thomson violently accosts the drum-kit here, well, that's their loss.

One thing you might not know is that Franz are still very popular with teenagers. Not overgrown men-children either: real live Youth of Today. I was expecting an audience of similarly face-melted millennials, but the steaming pit at the front screaming in delight at the opening chimes of new one 'Right Action' is made up of young'uns. One of them, who must have been hip-deep in Lego when Franz Ferdinand hit the shelves, told me before the gig that Franz had changed his life; he didn't explain how or why, but that's proper, teenage band-love, right there, and it's coming as Franz enter their second decade. At some point this evening - I think as 'Walk Away' makes me feel very old indeed - I notice that a man about my age is looking at a picture of a quiche on Instagram.

But it's not all bad news for my generation: everyone is of course very happy when a song called 'Take Me Out' flares up, right after an out of control 'This Fire', too. Grown men sing along to a guitar line, there's stomping, there's clapping and very broad grins on four faces in particular. But Franz are too classy to rest on that particular laurel, barely pausing for breath before riding straight into 'Love Illumination', a gaudy, cheap thrill of a song that sits alongside 'Tell Her Tonight' as one of their most straightforwardly fun, and certainly not the kind of lumpen, po-faced Serious Songs many pop acts on their fourth record might be tempted to make. Onwards, then.

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