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TURN OFF THE BRIGHT LIGHTS: INTERPOL AND FRANZ FERDINAND LIVE



"Thank sweet Christ then for support Franz Ferdinand. Buttoned up to the chin in what has already been dubbed Manchester chic by the savvier fashion rags, Franz Ferdinand are nine of your favourite bands. As with most things, it's the past again, rearing its ugly beautiful head -- but for once you don't mind. It's about time we had an 80s revival that revived those few and fleeting moments worth treasuring: brightly flowering dour intensity, music made by people who read books, stupid haircuts, mordant wit, white boy funk. It's all here."

By Peter Wild

COPYRIGHT © 2003, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Six maybe seven months ago, I caught a ferocious 30 minute set on the NME Brat tour from a band I'd heard a lot of talk about. Equal parts Joy Division and Television, the band didn't talk, didn't smile, didn't do anything -- except play song after storming song. Interpol wasted The Thrills, trashed The Datsuns and left The Polyphonic Spree for dead. Yeah okay, they wore their influences on their muted pastel sleeves but -- what the hell, they were driven, committed -- they still had something to prove.

Six months on, and Interpol are Rocky III. All of the eye of the tiger is gone. Interpol have become a company, with a blazing blue lightshow and a stock set of trademarked moves. The crowd love them, make no mistake. The crowd whistle and scream and roar. The crowd, it would seem, are all for hearing the Interpol they know from Turn on the Bright Lights, and that is what they get. Welcome to the album. You watch them and you're bored before you realise -- they're bored too. They're sick of these songs. Interpol don't want to play "Obstacle 1" again, would be happy to see all trace of "PDA" disappear from the planet, would like "Stella" to stay the fuck down. Interpol are as dry as old bones, they are kindling for future fire. Shame what fire there was has gone out.

Thank sweet Christ then for support Franz Ferdinand. Buttoned up to the chin in what has already been dubbed Manchester chic by the savvier fashion rags, Franz Ferdinand are nine of your favourite bands. They shimmer like a decade-old heat haze: you get ferocious Ceremony-era New Order, cod whiteboy funk workouts a la Orange Juice or The Associates, shouty comic Fall riffs incorporating the roughly hewn Germanic illiteracies of a playground Bremen Nacht and the kind of dance shapes only ever previously inspired by A Certain Ratio when all A Certain Ratio knew was "Shack Up". They take themselves seriously, Franz Ferdinand, no doubt. They take themselves seriously but they're having one hell of a time -- and that hell of a time makes its way out into the audience: you see guys fingering unbuttoned collars, you see the fits and shambolic starts of Joy Divided silhouettes, geared up for Interpol, unexpectedly taken by a stranger in the dark. This is the good stuff alright.

As with most things, it's the past again, rearing its ugly beautiful head -- but for once you don't mind. It's about time we had an 80s revival that revived those few and fleeting moments worth treasuring: brightly flowering dour intensity, music made by people who read books, stupid haircuts, mordant wit, white boy funk. It's all here. You just gotta hope people don't make the mistake of thinking Interpol are head of the vanguard. It's Franz Ferdinand all the way at my house . . .




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Wild lives and works in Manchester, England. He's the co-founder of the Bookmunch website, which takes up a whole lot of time, but when he gets a moment free he's writing short stories and a(nother) novel. Either that, or he's catching up on the sleep his 20-month-old daughter deprives him of.





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