- 12 Feb 18
Stuart Clark was among the adoring masses in the Olympia...
Standing in front of a Franz Ferdinand banner which borrows its lettering from their beloved hometown venue, the Barrowlands, Alex Kapranos looks like a genetic splicing of young Elvis and Let's Dance-era Bowie with his newly peroxided quiff, razor sharp suit, and 45-year-old hips that still impressively swivel.
In the five years they've been away, Alex and fellow Franz founder member Bob Hardy - they're joined tonight by three whippersnapper new recruits - have morphed into elder statesmen. Not wanting it to be all about the old days, though, they kick off with 'Lazy Boy', their funky divil of a current single, which is as perfect a four minutes of pop as the trademark hits, which quickly follow.
Working every inch of the Olympia stage, Kapranos looks as lean and indie rock mean as he did when we first spied him fifteen odd years ago in the Dublin Mean Fiddler. You sense that Franz Ferdinand are back because they want to be, rather than having to find money to settle divorce cases or pay their kids' ludicrously expensive public school fees.
An elongated 'Do You Want To' - yes, we most certainly do - allows them to milk the sellout crowd's adulation, while the swoonsome 'When You Walk Away' is a reminder that Mr. Kapranos also authors a damn fine love song.
Brought up proper by his parents, Alex remembers to thank tonight's local support, Fontaines D.C., whose 'Hurricane Laughter' is the best thing a real Dublin rock band's done in a decade. With his nods to Mark E. Smith, Shaun Ryder, John Cooper Clarke and the Sleaford Mods, singer/very loud talker Grian won't be everyone's cup of Marmite but with so many killer riffs emanating from the boys behind him (their drummer is feckin' awesome too) you sense that biggish things await the abrasive quintet.
While not welcomed with the same deranged screams as 'Matinee' and 'Take Me Out', which have lost none of their youthful chutzpah, the title-track from Franz's Always Ascending comeback succeeds in turning this patch of Dublin 2 into a massive, seething dancefloor. "Donna Summer meets Talking Heads round at Scott Walker's gaff" is what I rather pretentiously have written in my notebook and, the morning after the night before, I'm sticking to it.
Given that they're in James Joyce's old manor, 'Ulysses' gets an encore run out alongside a stunning call and response version of 'This Fire', which Alex refuses to bring to climax until we all hunker down on the floor and wave our arms around in flame-like fashion.
Welcome back gents, it really has been too long...