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26th October 2022

Live review: Franz Ferdinand – Hits to the Head Tour

Glaswegian indie-rockers Franz Ferdinand bring their Hits to the Head Tour to Manchester.
Live review: Franz Ferdinand – Hits to the Head Tour
Photo: Franz Ferdinand ‘Hits To the Head’ Official Album Artwork

Arguably Franz Ferdinand’s most famous song, ‘Take Me Out’ is still a staple at indie clubs like 42s, 18 years after its release. The Glaswegian band’s discography has secured its place among a new generation of fans who’ve curated their music tastes around the indie rock and post-punk revival.

Franz Ferdinand tore up O2 Victoria Warehouse with their Hits to the Head Tour on October 19th. The tour is a nostalgic journey through their musical career. With 20 years of hits to their name, the quintet is on the fan service leg of their trajectory, taking the songs that propelled them to fame across Europe.

Photo: Rebecca Rommen @ The Mancunion

Supporting bands The Great Leslie and Los Bitchos warmed the crowd of 3,500 up. Both London-based bands, they brought alternative rock and 70s-inspired cumbia respectively. The latter band knew how to implement strong bass sounds, while the lead singer showed off their falsetto and vibrato, maintaining a dedicated hold on the high notes. The second band’s instrumental cumbia was a very different vibe to whom they were opening for, but it somehow worked.

A mesh curtain covered the stage leading up to Franz Ferdinand’s arrival. When they found their places and instruments on stage, the curtain was lifted alongside flashing lights after they played the opening notes of ‘The Dark of the Matinee’. The visual imagery of this reveal was electrifying, and the perfect opener for a night of classics.

Photo: Rebecca Rommen @ The Mancunion

Alex Kapranos’ recognisable voice reverberated around the warehouse venue, sounding unchanged since the band’s inception in 2002. His stage presence was intoxicating as he made use of elevated platforms and proved he was still having fun on tour; none of that blasé attitude you see with some other performers who’ve toured for decades. The band’s live performance included satisfying harmonies, tasteful guitar solos, and isolated bass sections to break up packed choruses.

Franz Ferdinand’s setlist included their most popular songs, from ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘Do You Want Me’, to ‘No You Girls’, and ‘Walk Away’, much to the crowd’s delight. When ‘The Fallen’ was played, it took me back to my angsty teenage years. An oft-replayed part of my teenage dirtbag playlist, I’d forgotten how much the song used to mean to me until I saw it performed live. One verse in particular used to echo in the background of my subconscious:

“And the Kunst won’t talk to you /’Cause you kissed St Rollox adieu / ‘Cause you robbed a supermarket or two / Well, who gives a damn about the prophets of Tesco?”

At the time I was seriously considering moving to Glasgow and wanted those lyrics tattooed on my wrist; this was a band whose edgy verses spoke to my self-important, desperate-to-find-and-assert-myself adolescence. Did I even know what those lyrics meant? I probably just thought they sounded cool, and at that age, that’s all that mattered. I’d like to think that I’ve moved past that cringeworthy quest for individualism, but whether or not I have, I still love Franz Ferdinand, and finally seeing them live was a full-circle moment.

You can find the latest news and tour updates from Franz Ferdinand here.

You can stream the greatest hits from Franz Ferdinand on Spotify:

Written by Rebecca Rommen and Aisha Toussain

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