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MGMT and Franz Ferdinand proved just how different live shows can be

When you head off to see a double headline show, it’s hard not to get to the end of the night and compare the two acts. 

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Image source: 
BandAnna Photography

Anyone leaving Festival Hall would’ve been hard pressed to not discuss the massive gap in performance quality between MGMT and Franz Ferdinand, with the two acts showing to have stark levels of difference in almost every aspect of live performance.
 
Fresh from Splendour in the Grass, MGMT kicked off the night with a fairly stoic performance that belied what their music seems to be about. While most in the crowd looked ready to spend the night dancing along to some upbeat pop, the band were a little subdued and seemed happy to move from one track to the next without much desire to kick off the party most were hoping for.
 
Their set was largely in smoke and darkness and with a minimum of feeling or interaction with the audience, instead screens and lights provided most of the visual cues while the band were almost unseen.
 
When the hits came, the audience got right into them. Tracks like ‘Time to Pretend’ and ‘Electric Feel’ had the people moving and shaking, but the band struggled to maintain the momentum throughout the set. The crowd were aching to let loose but it almost seemed like the band wouldn’t let them.
 
While the musicianship itself was really top notch, the catalogue of tracks behind MGMT felt like it should lend itself to a show that would be seen as great instead of just good.
 
The same couldn’t be said for Franz Ferdinand who brought the energy from their first track to their last and were a world apart from the act that preceded them.
 
Lead singer Alex Kapranos moved around the stage like a true rockstar while the band moved from hit to hit to hit, leaving some room for some tracks from their 2018 album Always Ascending.
 
The energy of the group onstage was as catchy as their tunes, and by the time we’d moved from ‘No You Girls’ to ‘Walk Away’ to main set closer ‘Take Me Out’, it was clear we were in the hands of rock veterans who’d been perfecting their craft over their now 15+ year career.
 
Things like the playful call and response of “Lucky lucky, you’re so lucky” during ‘Do You Want To’, to the constant banter with the crowd, to the non-stop energy while onstage (all with seemingly never-ending supplies of confidence) is what really brought the performance to life. While MGMT’s performance wasn’t necessarily bad, it was almost like they never stood a chance no matter what they did.
 
After their main set, the band came back to finish with a rocking, rolling, and rollicking extended version of ‘This Fire’. The boys from Scotland sent the crowd home happy (and probably a little hoarse) to end the night on a high.
 
Highlight: Alex Kapranos and everything he did.
Lowlight: The middle part of MGMT’s set.
Crowd Favourite: ‘Take Me Out’.