Joined: 03 May 2004
|Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:39 pm Post subject: 5/5 Live Review in The Times !!!!!
|The Times . James Jackson
Published at 12:01AM, July 1 2015
Rated to 5 stars
It’s the most intriguing marriage of the year: rock’s enduring eccentrics Sparks (Ron and Russell Mael, the Gilbert and George of rock) united with Glasgow’s funky indie-boys Franz Ferdinand in a kind of artpop supergroup. As a co-branded, stage-sharing experiment between two extant bands, it’s perhaps unique. The question at the east London venue Troxy (imagine an art-deco bingo hall) was, if you’ll forgive the obvious pun, whether this gig would be big enough for the both of them.
Arriving to the preposterously dramatic refrains of the Blake’s 7 theme — and to a rousing reception from a bemused, cross-generational crowd — they launched into the wry stomp of Johnny Delusional, balanced rather more towards Sparks’s chamber-glam than Franz’s angular indie.
With singers Alex Kapranos (FF; low croon), and Russell Mael (S; soaring semi-falsetto) bunched together as they pointed and bobbed along to the lyrics, the pair initially looked a potentially awkward set-up, each perhaps conscious not to tread on the other’s showmanship.
But the set-up loosened up, heated up and got downright more hilarious as the night went on, ultimately giving more bangs for the buck than either a standard FF gig or even one by Sparks. The less familiar new material ranged from the jittery synth-disco of So Desu Ne to the cheerful P*** Off and if it ever seemed in danger of becoming all a bit arty-smarty (as on their album), they would pull out a classic.
FF’s Do You Want To?, matching the glam-pomp of early Sparks, sounded fabulous, while a mid-set run ofThe Number One Song in Heaven, Michael and This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us pretty much blew the roof off.
During Number One Song..., the eternally eerie keyboardist Ron Mael — looking like a 1950s headmaster unhappily forced to play with the school band — finally arose, loosened his tie and suddenly busted out some ludicrous dad-dancing moves, a spectacle not commonly associated with producing crowd euphoria.
The bands’ intention with all this seems to be no more than an experiment in a meeting of minds. That they’re clearly having a ball in doing so was epitomised when guitarist Nick McCarthy crowd-surfed during the encore of Call Girl. As they ended with the self-mocking Collaborations Don’t Work (to shouts of “they do”), Russell Mael and Kapranos duetted: “Where is this damn thing going?/ Someone tell me.” It’s hard to know, but for now it’s tremendous fun.
Touring the UK in August
C'est la vie , c'est la mort , say no more , no no more !