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Arts of pleasure (do you see what I did?) Apr 30

So I went to see Franz Ferdinand’s Leeds gig on their tour, or rather their second Leeds gig: they played a secret set the night before under the cunning pseudonym The Black Hands. Except news got out and a thousand people tried to get in to a venue fitting three hundred.

The less eventful gig I attended was at the Blank Canvas, an apt description of an unfurnished (save for a bar and stage) tunnel in railway arches under Leeds City Station. Uneventful also describes the two support acts, who weren’t helped by a feedback-infested sound system (which surprisingly fixed itself for the headliners). Sons and Daughters were hard to hear and didn’t leave the impression of being anything special. The Fiery Furnaces (I think that’s what they were called) were a little better, but used the cunning ploy of segueing their songs together to avoid unenthusiastic applause between them. As a result we weren’t sure if they played ten similar songs or one slightly odd one.

Franz Ferdinand themselves dwarfed their support. They were confident, clear (impressive given the acoustics), and classy. The crowd, who took little warming up, bounced away to Take Me Out and their other two singles. After a long and pretty exhaustive set, they returned for an encore of This Fire and Shopping for Blood. The combination of different vocalists works well live (unsurprising for a band that grew as part of their own live music scene in Glasgow) and the songs were was, needless to say, terrific.

This was my first gig since I said goodbye to Suede. The musical invention, wry lyrics and live performance showed promise that Franz Ferdinand can lead the renaissance of British indie. Their challenge now is to produce a second album that builds on, rather than just repeats, the first.

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