The Soft Pack bounded on stage to what can only be said to be a somewhat stoic response from the audience. They launched into their first song with vigour, and didn't even pause before the second – but while the lead guitarist kept his enthusiasm for the whole set, by their third song, 'Future Rock', the singer was beginning to look distinctly disillusioned.
The crowd picked up a bit near the end of the set, although this was short-lived. 'Nightlife' was horribly dissonant – maybe intentionally so, but the singer didn't gel with the bass, and neither seemed to gel with the crowd.
The Soft Pack left the stage after nine (fairly samey) songs, to a smattering of applause and the odd half-hearted cheer. It was clear who the crowd had really come to see tonight.
Franz Ferdinand came on stage to space-like synths and thunderous applause and – after saying hi - launched into a storming version of 'Matinee' before immediately showcasing the new album with 'No You Girls'.
It was clear from the off that this wasn't going to be a concert of near-perfect, album-quality performances, what with Alex Kapranos ad-libbing the melody lines and some of the more famous tunes giving way to self-indulgent guitar solos that had the crowd going wild.
The band played the crowd to perfection throughout, leading sing-a-longs through 'Walk Away' and 'Do You Want To?', and by the time the slamming chords of 'Take Me Out' started up the atmosphere was electric. I had somehow managed to find the one part of the crowd that wasn't going mental, disappointingly, but the area front centre of the stage was a mass of movement, and the stream of crowd surfers being summarily ejected by the increasingly surly security guards was fairly constant.
The setlist was a good mix of new and old, with the classics clearly being better received - a shame, as 'Bite Hard' was phenomenal. The 'official' set finished with a fantastic rendition of the latest single, 'Ulysses', and Franz Ferdinand left the stage to a huge ovation (and without even a pretence that they weren't going to return).
The encore began with more publicity for the latest album 'Tonight', which started to lose the crowd a little – with the result that the sing-a-long for 'Outsiders' never really made it off the ground (all but drowned out by shouts for 'Jacqueline'). They pulled it back, however, at the end of the song, when all the band members abandoned their instruments in favour of the drum kit – by this stage the crowd was roaring again.
Alex introduced the band to the opening refrain of 'Fire', and the response was deafening. Breaking in the middle for a Deliverance-style guitar battle with Nick McCarthy, the band finished the song – and the night - in style; linking hands to take their bows centre stage to massive appreciation from everyone at the Apollo.
No You Girls
Do You Want To?
Take Me Out
Turn It On
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article by: Hannah Morgan
photos by: Chris Mathews
| published: 12/03/2009 12:07|