The cat is very much out of the bag. Huw Stephens, everyone's favourite DJ with both excellent taste in music and an especially fine beard, confirmed on BBC Radio 1 last night that Franz Ferdinand are to headline Field Day next year.
The annual Victoria Park blowout has been brought forward from its usual August timeslot to June - one presumes not only to avoid the Olympics, but also to take advantage of the fact there's a diamond jubilee or something. The bill also includes Metronomy, Here We Go Magic, Beirut (in a UK outdoor festival exclusive), Revere, Errors, Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard... and that's just cherry-picking personal favourites from the first lineup announcement.
Obviously, new material from the band's eagerly-anticipated fourth album is likely to feature, but I don't have a crystal ball, so can't tell you what it's going to sound like. However, let's hope there's still room for some rabble-rousing, floorfilling old favourites. Here's five songs that they should definitely make room for in their live set:
1. 'Jacqueline' (Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, August 2005)
The very first song from Franz Ferdinand's eponymous 2004 debut album, it sums up everything that's appealing about them. It may have even opened the set the first time I saw them live in October 2004 - either way, it made an instant impact. Whispered, come-hither vocals from Alex Kapranos, a killer bassline, prime minor key guitar shredding and an instantly catchy refrain - what's not to love? It still sounds fresh all these years down the line. Kapranos' closing declaration to the crowd ("I feel alive just now... and I love it") is very touching.
2. 'Walk Away' (Live session, date unknown)
Best delivered acoustic, this is the standout track on the band's second album You Could Have It So Much Better. The album version's okay, but this rendition best suits the track's sense of sentiment and that sense of just not being able to handle it when someone disappears from your life. It's testament to the band's songwriting skill that they can strip a song to its bare bones and it still stands up to the rest of their material in terms of its quality.
3. 'Lucid Dreams' (Brixton Academy, October 2009)
'Lucid Dreams' was a hell of a shock to the system when the original version first appeared in summer 2008. There'd been rumours that Franz Ferdinand were 'going dance' for a few months, and, truth be told, it was a bit baffling. Hearing it live for the first time at an unannounced Warehouse Project show in November that same year suddenly saw it click into place, as a song that (being brutally honest) isn't fully realised on record is suddenly rendered as it was probably meant to sound. The band may have traded in the guitars for synths, but they still perform with the same sense of gusto and joy that makes them so popular.
4. 'Darts of Pleasure' (London Calling festival, Holland, November 2003)
Ah, the gift of foresight. If only we'd had it in 2003, eh? There's something quite endearing about a band who are just slowly starting to get there - it's clear they've improved immeasurably live and Kapranos' coy declaration of "some of you might know this one" is standard fare for most breakthrough bands. Their confidence is already clear here, though, and the audience happily get into the groove, clapping along as the song builds to that memorable final refrain of "# Ich heisse superfantasisch/Ich trinke Schampus mit Lachsfisch/Ich heisse Su-per-fan-tas-tiiiiiiisch... #" The rest, as they say, was history.
5. 'Outsiders' (Paléo Festival, Czech Republic, 2009)
If Franz Ferdinand ever don't play 'Outsiders' live, it gets you wondering whether it was the sole item on page two of the setlist and the tour manager accidentally forgot to print it. You get double the fun on the record live - in fact, if it doesn't run to over seven minutes then the promoters have probably hit curfew. 'Outsiders' is dearly beloved by fans of the band. Always exhilarating live, it inspires bawdy singing, feral whoops and carefree dancing as a bare minimum. The outro also challenges 'There Goes The Fear' by Doves in the (albeit rather specialist) category of 'let's watch the whole band trash this drumkit in a rhythmic and organised fashion'. In fact, they could just play this on a loop for two hours and it'd do me.
words: Kate Goodacre
Field Day 2012 takes place in Victoria Park, East London, on Saturday June 2, 2012. A limited number of early bird tickets priced at £39.50 (excluding booking fees) are available now.