A Saturday night on the town isn’t our online editor Andrea’s normal etiquette, but when the six piece disco dynamites Franc Moody bring their beats to Leeds, what choice did she really have?
Bracing the winds and walking down to a bustling Belgrave, I didn’t anticipate just how packed the upstairs Music Hall would already be, as most people skip the support to make time for an extra pint. But not this crowd, there was something different in the air, the energy levels in the atmosphere seemed to elevate with every new local that stepped through the double doors. The backing playlist was a show in of itself, a myriad of faultless tracks my housemate aimed to define as “Lo-Fi Jazzy Break Beat Ambient”, a Spotify playlist title I’m sure exists in some capacity already (or should).
The support seemed lonely on the instrument laden stage, but he turned out to be one man with arguably superior capabilities that some bands I’ve seen. Using a sound board and pedal, these electronic companions guided his vocal range beyond normal capabilities, inviting unique and exciting melodies a picture would miss, that frozen frame portraying one man and a guitar, when Mac Wetha is far beyond that. His white earphones propped either side of his head made him look like a Leeds student through and through, the sort you could find in Eddie B and wouldn’t give a second glance to. However, his mellow vocals and masterful guitar work shone on tracks like ‘Themes’ and ‘Ode to Mumma’. I may have some bias though, as he does have a track called ‘Loftus’ and that is quite a hard thing to come by. It must be said though that that wasn’t a clear genre running through his tracks, and though I’m all for diversifying the discography, it’s confusing when you could be listening to Mac Miller one minute and Don Broco the next.
With a modest farewell, he was now speaking to a room with doubled capacity as everyone gently edged closer and closer to the stage. When the time finally arrived, clapping the band on stag ewas a hard feat as everyone was grasping Belgrave’s new reusable plastic cups (kudos), but the noise was substituted by a wave of roaring cheers that came like a tidal wave from the back of the packed out room.
The band are like a goody back of top talent, the group diverse in age and talent but united in their duty to deliver a bloody good night. The room felt more like a disco night at a club than a venue, with people dancing from the get go, no awareness of personal space or how sweaty they would be by the end of the next hour.
Starting off with ‘A Little Something For The Weekend’, they dived straight into the next track and let us all ‘Dream in Colour’, after the tantilising beats and vocals there was no need to ‘Charge Me Up’ and nobody had to ‘Grin and Bare it’ as we stood like one body, hips moving side to side and limbs out of our control, ‘Skin on Skin’, overcome by the glory of Franc Moody.
The setlist was inundated with classics, from ‘Night Flight’ to ‘She’s Too Good For Me’, but the crowd pleasers really shone through towards the end. A personal highlight was ‘Dopamine’, as it sat sandwiched between two equally amazing tracks ‘Pheromones’ and ‘In Too Deep’, with the wondeful Amber-Simone who does percussion for the band and is truly a bongos queen taking the reigns with vocals.
The reason this group are so renowned and could survive on word-of-mouth recommendations alone (my sister told me I HAD to see them if they came to Leeds) is because they give the people what they want. The lyrics are simple but effective because they aren’t the focus, the interweaving musicality of six incredible musicians intends to condense the glorious anarchy of pure funk-pop into a compact setting filled to the brim with joy and movement. Their new album Dream in Colour is made of 11 articulate tracks that bottle the euphoria of a rave into one concise album that we are truly lucky to have at our disposal.
So, if you every see Franc Moody performing near you in any capacity, buy a ticket, get a train, grab a beer and BOOGIE.
[Photos by Hannah Stokes]