God! I went to see Franz Ferdinand last night. They were totally, totally fabulous. Almost as good as Radiohead 2 years ago and that’s high praise.

I was slightly dreading it as I schlepped out to Alexandra Palace in the November rain. The last few gigs I’ve been to have been terrible (Dandy Warhols, you suck live) and I had the vague notion that FF would suck too. I loved the first album, but only in small doses, and I’d barely listened to the new one.

But now I understand! the albums mean nothing. This is music to be heard live and played live. From the moment they came on the stage after a dreary support, you could smell they were good. There was a stylish black silk backcloth with their trademark constructivist diagonals and they powered through a punchy “This Boy” before – kaboom! – the silk drops and there’s a full black-and-white video screen framed in roaring red and dizzying, visceral, strobey lighting and they’re singing “Do You Want To”: possibly the greatest pop song of the Noughties.

Infact, having seen them play – smiling, full of fun, clearly having a very stylish blast – I’m pretty convinced they’re the best and most representative band of the Noughties. Songs like “Take Me Out”, “The Dark of the Matinee”, “What You Meant” and the sublimely dirty “Michael” should be played top volume and pogoed to for the whole decade.

It’s the acid test of a good gig when 2 bars into “Do You Want To” I had surrendered to the forward rush and was bouncing up and down like a loon, whooping and punching the air. 15 songs later, I was still bouncing – though now I’m 35 and halfway to my biblical innings, my bounce is not quite as springy. Still I felt that euphoric – “I don’t care if I get mashed to a pulp down among the beer cans and bottles – this is the real thing!” – feeling.

God they were good. Alex Kapranos has fully grown into the smart, joyously posing rock star. He stands on speakers, strikes poses, collapses on the ground – ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek but never ironic, never uncutting the sheer exuberance of the music. Thrash, thrash, thrash, wham. Fast, loud, electric pop. Sigh.

For the record, the Village Voice had it right when they called FF, “15 pounds of fuck puppy in a 10 pound bag”. Excellent, and thankyou Mel, for pointing it out…


  1. Valerie

    December 2, 2005 at 9:36 pm

    Yes Alistair when a good group plays no matter what age you
    are there is bounce and spring and rocking all around.
    My kids say Ma what the heck are you doing and I tell them
    I just enjoying the music and performance.
    They once had the nerve to tell me not to yell so much at
    a hockey game. The nerve.
    Glad you enjoyed. Nice to hear from you.

  2. The Alternate Spelling

    December 2, 2005 at 9:39 pm

    It seems to be the season for it; Rufus Wainright at the Apollo on Tuesday was really something else too. Having French and Saunders join him on the stage for a cameo sing-in was somewhat surreal but certainly an hilarious thrill.

    Incidentally, Dr Aubrey de Grey up at your alma mater maintains that there are people alive today who will live to be a thousand years old; I think he’d scoff at your plans to die at 70.

  3. Scudder

    December 3, 2005 at 6:14 pm

    That sounds like a blast. Literally. I think I need to get out MY pogo stick and find something good to bounce around to. As always, love the pictures. Nice tail. I knew one day you’d show it off 🙂

  4. Albert

    December 8, 2005 at 4:50 pm

    At 35 youare just a boy you made reference in Travel Bug that you were not
    up to late nights.I am 73 years old and dont think of throwing in the towel
    I still have all my own teeth and brown hair and have to produce a driving
    licence when I wish to take advantage of old pensioners discount in shops.
    If you think old you will be old,like you I have travelled round the world
    in south Turkey I swam in the same waters as you did long before you were
    born I shall tour North America in my 80s.See think positive.

  5. Daniel

    December 8, 2005 at 9:39 pm

    You go get ’em, Albert! Come see me in lovely New York State, when you tour (and do bring Mr.Appleton)!

    Oh my gosh – Alistair wrote “suck”! Now, I want to HEAR him say it, perhaps thusly: “Let’s see what’s in this attic, shall we? Oh dear, this is all crap! Your junk sucks!”


  6. Pamela

    December 8, 2005 at 11:53 pm

    I wish they’re were mor pepole able to stand naked stripped of all ther defences , and looking at themselves , and accepting who they are , and what the world has to offer around them . I love who he is , I love his thoughts , and I love his passion for life , and the strength to go looking for himself and what really matters in life. Being human isn’t easy , but we are given what we have been given. I believe everything happens for a reason . Good, bad , or indifferent , you can learn from it , and if you let one moment pass that you could have learned from , you are truely a fool. I may never be of any importance to what some consider the real world , but I work every day to make a diffence to as many people as I can. I read alot of the comments , and I am saddened by alot of what I saw. But all I can do is pray someday you will know why you are here , and the gifts you have truely been given , with every breath you take. Alistair , you are beautiful , and it has made my day better just to hear that you are finding peace in your life , and enjoying it to the fullest. I am a divorced mother of two , and it has been hard , but it has been a wild ride , I wouldn’t have missed for anything , I have learned so much . I have changed , and grown , and learned to value life more and more with every passing day. But I am happy with who I am today , but I will be happier I am sure with who I still am to become . Just when I thought I had it all figured out , something happens to make me see I still had more to learn. I would have loved to travel and experience the things you have , and mabey someday I will be able to , but for now , I am where I am suppose to be , untill I am suppose to be somewhere else I guess. I have seen you on T.V. , but never thought to watch , untill I had a dream last night , that I was talking to you. My father always said follow your gut , and listen to your inner voices . He said they are not talking to you just so you have something to listen to , pay attention. So I have learned to listen more , and keep silent and do what I feel and not ask why , or question to much . Life is simple , we make it hard. I guess I just wanted to tell you I am glad you are who you are , and I am happy to see you liveing your life to the fullest , and growing as you do. I am looking forward to reading more about you and your travels , I hope someday I can be as fortunate to travel , but for now , I am very fortunate to just be me , I still have work to do here.

  7. Richard

    December 12, 2005 at 2:47 am

    Hey there AA, thanks for the review of the Franz Ferdinand
    concert. They really are quite a great group. The first
    album was manna from the gods. I’ve only heard the second
    at my friend’s house. I’ve yet to see them live, but now
    I know that will have to be on my agenda.

  8. salman

    December 17, 2005 at 8:53 pm

    dear ali

    lovely read and i could feel the music must have been very good to make you rock ..
    love you and want to see more of you
    thanks for being the best looking guy in the world ..
    salman ..

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