Bloc Party - O2 Academy, Glasgow, Monday 26th Jan
This article is from 2009.
Thrashing about on stage, guitar in hand, is clearly Kele Okereke's natural habitat. Pinned down by the glare of a television camera whilst being interviewed is definitely not. Okereke is known for his awkward and politely confrontational character, especially in interviews, where he seems unable to comprehend how or why people could possibly want more from him than the music his band produce. Seeing Bloc Party play justifies this attitude.
Okereke sang every soul-baring lyric with as much emotion as when it was first penned. The band played every song with as much fervour as the first time it was nailed, and after more than an hour and a half of putting nothing less than heart and soul into every song, it was they, the band, who were thankful. Coming together at the end of a gig to bow to your audience is a rare thing in rock and roll but when you love your music as purely as these guys do, nonchalantly strutting off backstage is not an option.
This is a band who have already carved their place in British rock history and who would be far more entitled to the arrogance that so many of their lesser contemporaries possess, but they absolutely don't. They are a 'music' band, as opposed to the nauseating 'scene' bands who trundle out of record company marketing offices every time an original sound emerges in the music scene. Bloc Party are all about the music and nothing else, which goes some way to explaining why their live shows are so good.
Their unique style, mixing rock, indie and electronica, is highly original and their songs are borne out of natural creativity. This relaxed and confident Kele Okereke, who charmed the Glasgow crowd, was also the real thing, unlike his unwelcome media persona. He was unable to stop himself breaking into huge toothy grins every time he caught the sound of the crowd singing along. The songs ranged from passionate and haunting to fast and furious – vocals as sharp in both - but over the course of the show the tempo was raised so that by the time the band played Flux at the end, it was to one collectively jumping unit.
The charismatic drummer, Matt Tong, risked the wrath of the first aiders when he tore his shirt off and simultaneously made every swooning indie girl go weak at the knees. It was a scene to inspire any dissatisfied Harry Potter lookalike.
All the introductions were met with cheering but 'This Modern Love', 'Flux', 'Hunting For Witches' and the beautiful 'So Here We Are' induced the most singing. The light show accompanying the performance was phenomenal and undoubtedly played a large part in producing one of those rare and epic gigs of legend that you know you will be comparing everything else to for a long time to come.