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- Lock 17, Camden Town »
- Bloc Party »
It’s a glorious thing heading out to see a band that’s teetering on the verge of greatness. A sort of butterflies in the stomach, can-they-or-can’t-they-excitement builds, making you bop up and down on the spot while you’re waiting for the gig to start. Bloc Party are certainly a band on the up. With their fourth single, ‘Helicopters’, just about to hit the stores and a highly anticipated debut album due in the new year, they’ve come a long, long way since… well, since DiS reviewed them back in March for a start. In fact, as soon as the band clambers onto the stage it’s obvious how far their buzzworthyness has taken them – the audience fan-to-music-industry-type ratio is easily 1:1. I know this from catching dubious snippets of ‘insider’ conversation on my way back from the bar before the start of their set – (whisper): “…Well I’VE heard the new record sounds like Mogwai!” I also know this because half the audience isn’t dancing from the very first moment.
Now first impressions are clearly important to Bloc Party. Have you noticed how from the instant one of their songs begin, you’re hooked? Whether it’s a beat, a sound or a shout, from the very first listen to the thousandth time you’ve played it, they have an impact that you feel almost before you hear. There is a physicality to their music that is urgent and exciting and, my god, I can’t believe these asshole A+R guys aren’t dancing! ‘Banquet’ is simply perfect - Matt and Gordon provide a flawless, motorik rhythm that underpins the sinewy guitars that Kele and Russell – head to head, toe to toe – fight out of their instruments. ‘She’s Hearing Voices’ is twitchier and angrier than it is on record. It rattles and thuds with desperation and paranoia, dark and danceable all at once. Newer material like ‘Helicopters’ and ‘This Modern Love’ are possibly more expansive than much of Bloc Party’s previous work perhaps hinting at the direction for the debut album, ‘Silent Alarm’.
Bloc Party play for less than an hour – the gig is short and sharp and sweet. Returning to the stage for a brief encore that includes stunning versions of ‘The Marshals Are Dead’ and ‘The Answer’, the band seem to savour every moment of the experience, helpless grins breaking out on each of their faces as they perform. It’s so good to see a band at this stage in their career, stepping up to the praise and the promise and the hype and surpassing all expectations. It takes blood and guts and devotion. This band are fucking beautiful.
Photo by Sonia Melot
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