Kentish Town Forum
I have no idea what drew me to this mash-up between one band I knew little about and another I was largely ambivalent. Such is the draw of F.F.S. – Franz Ferdinand Sparks. The project intrigued me, but I had no idea how their album of literate bonkers pop was going grab me over the summer.
Fast forward to early autumn, some horrible news, a couple of beers and a stonking hot pork bap in the Southampton Arms up the road and I was ready for some escapism.
The support act, Pure Beauty, veered between some good grooves and anonymous noise. I’ve seen worse, but there was nothing to make me raid the merch desk. And then at 9pm FFS hit the stage with. Starting with ‘Johnny Delusional’ and ending with ‘Collaborations Don’t Work’, the intervening hour and forty minutes flew past as they delivered tracks from the album interspersed with hits from each band, deftly delivered and razor sharp. What’s more, is they really appeared to gel with Russell Mael and Alex Kapranos’ vocals complementing each other well. Ron Mael’s deadpan demeanour was matched by FF’s drummer and bassist. As a single band they either really got on well or were incredibly professional (or indeed both). There were no visible or audible seams detectable from my plot in front of the mixing desk and the sound was reasonable, though not hitting the quality of The Decemberists last time I was at The Forum.
I’m not sure if this collaboration has legs beyond a single album, but let us celebrate that they had the nerve to make it and even more to tour it. I was certainly dancing for the second time this year. I think I’m going soft. Great fun.
It was busy, with a mix of ages, genders and facial hair. Phones were wafted, but any chatter wasn’t overly intrusive. The audience was largely good natured and entered into the event with enthusiasm although a couple next to me did exchange sharp words over something or other.
It made me think..
Bands playing mid sized venues should still employ a good light show. It does make a difference.