Franz Ferdinand / Editors / The Rakes

Nottingham Arena on Mon 28th Nov 2005

Sending three of the UK’s most opulently talented and forward-thinking bands on the road was always going to be good one. Yet, incredibly, this veritable showcase of The Best of British did so much more than merely entertain, throwing a fist in the face of the uncertain greyness that has overshadowed disposable pop-music for far too long.

"In a world where all three bands had hit it big at the precise same moment, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to speculate that tonight could easily be a co-headline tour."
In a world where all three bands had hit it big at the precise same moment, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to speculate that tonight could easily be a co-headline tour. As The Rakes enter the vast abyss of Nottingham Arena, the cheers are so loud that the first thing Alan Donohoe (lead vocals) utters is a bewildered, ‘No! We’re not Franz Ferdinand, they’re on later!’

It’s a telling sign of the three bands’ levelling popularity that the typical apathy reserved for The First Support On Stage, normally only witnessed by a faithful handful who’ve been queuing since dawn for the headliners, is replaced by wild cheering by an astoundingly full (although not quite yet capacity) audience.

People’s decisions to turn-up early pay off as The Rakes overcome the vastness of the venue, proving they are more than capable of making air hangers feel homely, turning in a truly fantastic performance. Every song feels like a Top 10 smash, with ‘Retreat’ and ‘22 Grand Job’ manifesting themselves as particular nuggets of pure pop genius. Better still, the inclusion of an as-yet unnamed new track goes down well with the crowd, hinting that the best from this band is still yet to come.

Editors’ brooding performance follows up and is received with equal hysteria. This year’s surprise hit command the stage effortlessly, keeping banter to a minimum, focusing simply on playing through their impressive roster of songs. Singles ‘Blood’, ‘Munich’ and ‘Bullets’ are as powerful live as they are on record, and the sight of lead singer/guitar Tom Smith hurl himself about stage in epileptic-like fits adds greater sense of astonishment to what unfolds before the crowd. Penultimate song, ‘Fingers In The Factories’ marks the high point of their set, a triumphant, fist-in-air number that sends the dense crowd into a jumping frenzy. Why the don’t decide to finish with this is a curious question, as their final number, ‘Open Your Arms’, seems irrelevant once they’ve already blown their load – it’s little more than moping up with a tissue afterwards.

Then, just as you thought the cheers couldn’t get any louder, someone remembers that Franz Ferdinand are still to perform. When they take the stage dressed almost exclusively in black, it’s clear that the Franz Ferdinand of 2005 are a different breed to the fresh faced pop scoundrels that first bartered for our attention a little over two years ago. They’re darker, edgier and, ultimately, more vital now than they’ve ever been before. Sure, Arctic Monkeys are the current darlings and touted ‘saviours of pop’, but it was Franz that paved the way for their success in the first place.

Opening with ‘This Boy’, against a black cloth back drop beaming erratic strobes through its many claw-swipe gashes, they pack a previously unrealised force that the audience are clearly in awe of. By ‘Do You Want To’ the cloth has dropped to reveal a giant video screen enclose by four giant rotating monoliths bearing portraits of each of the band members. The crowd go wild. New songs nestle amongst old, ‘I’m your villain’ standing out most from the second-album material. It’s a real pleasure to see that ‘Take Me Out’ still inspires the same level of excitement as it did up it’s original release, with audience seemingly jumping as one connected mass of joy. Their debut single ‘Darts Of Pleasure’ is still their greatest and, as has become custom on tours of late, is tonight extended to include an introduction of each of the band members by charismatic lead-singer and poster-boy Alex Kapranos.

A rapturous encore opens with the lounger-call-to-arms ‘Jacqueline’, with the ‘It’s always better on holiday’ refrain sounding as tempting now as it ever did. By the time they close with ‘This Fire’ there are no doubts as to the current excellence of not only the bands on display tonight, but British music as a whole. Let’s hope these bands and all the others following in their footsteps can keep on creating at such a high-quality level, doing our country proud. Judging by tonight, they shouldn’t have a problem.

article by: Alex Hoban

published: 30/11/2005 08:53


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.