Amusement Parks On FireEdit this event
Not since the Happy Mondays decided to twist their melons, man, have a group of bearskin-bashing, string-thrashing blokes given the kids in da "indie" club something to dance about.
Whilst the plaudits for 'She's Hearing Voices' still reel themselves in at an uncontrollable rate, it has to be said that London's Bloc Party seem to be able to live up to this air of expectation with an uncontrollable zest that sets them apart from their current contemporaries. I mean, for all their apparent savoir faire, can you really see the likes of Art Brut regaling such an insistent bunch of people on their first foray outside the homely confines of their capital city? No, me neither.
But before cementing my flagstone in honour of Bloc Party, it would be downright rude not to mention tonight's opening act Amusement Parks On Fire.
In these parts, APOF have already attained a somewhat legendary status, and it's not hard to see why as their short (but unabatedly sweet) set evokes the pre-'Loveless' haze of My Bloody Valentine in their prime whilst conjuring images of such genre-switching decadents as Tricky and Robert Hampson of Loop and Main fame.
Having just completed a recording session with Portishead's Geoff Barrow, the future looks impeccably bright for Amusement Parks On Fire. If their studio output equals the intensity and precision of their live performance, expect to see Alton Towers doused in an avalanche of petroleum with just a few smouldered Bryant and May endorsed splinters for company.
One could be forgiven for thinking that Bloc Party's opening salvo 'The Marshals Are Dead', with its opening wake up call to the unbelievers, opportunists, and fashion victims, could have been written about a large percentage of tonight's largely staid audience, most of whom represent a clique of people in bands, their mates and... their mates' mates. At times the Social looks like a cloning factory, with Kings Of Leon-coiffeured boys rubbing shoulders with de-mulleted girls, all staring at the band in an "Impress Me!" kind of manner whilst adopting a stance which says "you dance first and I'll follow suit" to the next person almost apologetically.
Thankfully, there are those of us who don't feel compelled to join in with the poseurs' party and so instead we dance our asses off unashamedly like starved rabbits on an island of freegrown 24/7 organic grass stems, something which seems to rub off on the almost permo-grinning face of Kele Okereke.
Sure, it may be easy to dismiss Bloc Party as being derivative or even retro as the likes of 'Banquet' and 'She's Hearing Voices' do tip their pearly-topped berets towards the laconic, post-punk stylings of the Fall and the Gang Of Four, yet at the same time the compulsion to dance is as gratifying as it was when first hearing Junior Senior's 'Move Your Feet' or Basement Jaxx's 'Red Alert'. The eerie 'Positive Tension' meanwhile starts off as a distant cousin to the Specials' 'Ghost Town' before ending up as a more palatable, intelligible sibling to the Mondays' 'Kuff Dam'.
The fact that Bloc Party only stay for half an hour probably owes as much to their lack of material as it does the nonchalent dissonance from 50% of the audience. Fortunately, the rest of us simply revelled safe in the knowledge that our status as converts to the new kings of rhythm remains distinctly unassailable.
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