We could have had it so much better. I was really at this gig to see Tapes 'n Tapes' support slot, but it was definitely worth hanging around to see Franz Ferdinand, in this 'warm-up' for their Reading headline slot two nights later.
It was interesting looking at the crowd on the balcony at The Forum. The first thing we spotted was a much higher number of women than at most indie rock shows. Maybe Alex Kapranos' assertion a few years ago of wanting to make “music for girls to dance to” has been fully realised. The other thing we noticed was the age group. I know FF aren't as hot as they were a couple of years ago, but unless the average age downstairs was much lower, it seems like The Kids are deserting Franz for more erm, youthful pleasures. Maybe the Arctic Monkeys who played the same venue the next night. Given the Glasgow boys' wide appeal, maybe it was understandble that this was not the usual London gig audience. Take for example the folks on the front row of the balcony who leapt to their feet, clapping over-enthusiastically when the band struck up Do You Want To. Naturally the rest of the upstairs followed suit. Speaking of suits, the middle-aged balding guy in front of us, who looked like he had come straight from his City desk was wiggling and punching the air in a most embarrassing dad-at-the-disco way. I'm not really complaining – it just added to the amusement factor.
Then FF played the ace Shopping For Blood (off the Darts for Pleasure single). But the happy boppers obviously didn't really know that one, and they stopped clapping and punching for a bit. A few more songs in, and a combination of the heat upstairs, tiredness, the poor quality of the sound (better than the disgrace that it was for Tapes 'n Tapes, but still pretty shit), and just the fact that the show wasn't moving us very much, meant that we thought that it was time to go. No offence to Franz. They get slicker and more choreographed every time I see them. Tonight they've even got cordless guitars to make the skipping round the stage and the high kicks even easier. They're polished, dapper and energetic. But tonight we're not feeling it. Ya boo sucks to The Forum and their crappy sound system. I'd have been really pissed off if we'd had to pay for the tickets. But because we didn't, we felt we could just go. And we did.
Download: Franz Ferdinand – Shopping for Blood
Download: Franz Ferdinand - Outsiders
PS. I saw FF again on BBC3's coverage of the Reading Festival. Their performance of Outsiders with a massive entourage of drummers was totally outstanding. They're still an amazing live band, really.
Photo of the gig nicked from Susan Shepard's Flickr. My camera had run out of juice.