As soon as I walked in to the iconic Festival Hall I could feel the nostalgia wash over me. I was immediately transported back to the early 00’s. Two era-defining bands of that time at the forefront of the indie genre were Franz Ferdinand and MGMT.
Fresh from their Splendour in the Grass sets and ready to perform for a Melbourne crowd. MGMT is up first accompanied by colourful psychedelic visuals and a giant blow up clown, a replica of the character on the cover of MGMTs new album ‘Little Dark Age’. As people are still pouring in MGMT open with their new album’s title track. Next is ‘When You Die’ one of my favourite tracks from the new album, followed by ‘James’ and ‘Weekend Wars’. ‘She Works Out Too Much’ is impressively sung atop an exercise bike and followed by a fabulously catchy tune, ‘Me and Michael.’ As they launch into ‘Time to Pretend’ the crowd really starts to move and the dancing escalates as ‘Electric Feel’ starts to play. The anthem ‘Kids’ is the highlight of the set with everyone singing along, mixed in with a spontaneous techno section. Finally the set closes with a slow track ‘Congratulations’ from their second album, an interesting choice, but chosen as the song was written by MGMT in Melbourne 10 years ago.
After a beer or two the looping black and white patterned visuals appear on screen and Franz Ferdinand take to the stage opening ‘The Dark of the Matinée’ a single from their debut album. Alex Kapranos is an entertaining and talented frontman interacting with the crowd and powerfully scissor kicking his way around the stage. ‘No You Girls’ and ‘Do You Want To’, send the crowd into a euphoric singalong. The rocking new track ‘Always Ascending’ the title track from their latest album kept everyone moving. Franz Ferdinand play some tracks from their most recent records, going back and forth between songs from Always Ascending (2018) and Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions (2013).‘Take Me Out’ is an obvious crowd favourite as everyone dances around ecstatically as the disco ball spins above the stage. The departure and silence before the encore was not at all mistaken for the end of the set, the audience was still awaiting a favourite, yet to be heard. Hands rose as ‘This Fire’ began to play. Kapranos ordered the sea of fans to crouch down, building tension and jump up again to dance away a fantastic finale.
The haze of nostalgia fades as a satisfied crowd depart Festival Hall. Franz Ferdinand and MGMT, an unlikely combination unite to perform to a crowd with more mature ears, creating an elated dance down memory lane.
Where: Festival Hall, Melbourne
When: Tuesday July 24
Reviewed by Lauren McKinnon