After waiting impatiently for several long months, the 15th October finally arrived, and I could hardly contain my excitement.
I first started listening to Bloc Party around the time their second album ‘A Weekend In The City’ was released (2007), which admittedly isn’t that long ago, but I have been hooked on their unique sound ever since. Kele Okereke’s rough London accent combined with the effects of distorted and layered guitars easily pulled me into what the lead singer wanted to be ‘a snapshot, a frozen moment in time’. Even their newest album ‘Intimacy’, although receiving mixed reviews from critics, soon joined my ever growing list of favourites, along with their first and possibly best album; ‘Silent Alarm’.
So as you can imagine I was very much looking forward to seeing them play live, and our loud renditions of ‘Flux’ and ‘Helicopter’ in the car on the way only increased my excitement. On arrival at the (newly moved) O2 Academy Birmingham I was pleasantly surprised to find the room reasonably small, compared to say the NEC or NIA, meaning we could easily get a spot on the left only one row from the front - despite only arriving after the support band had begun their set! I must admit I knew very songs by 'Grammatics', but have consequently downloaded their album due to their impressive performance on stage to an impatient crowd.
After much anticipation Kele and the band arrived on stage with a burst of cheers and blinding blue light, to perform my favourite song from their new album; ‘Halo’. From the second row we had an amazingly good view of Kele, whose rapid guitar playing and strong voice made him even more attractive than usual. If that is possible. Unsurprisingly there were hoards of swooning girls at the barrier, all reaching and pushing just for the chance to touch the towels Kele was using, very frequently I must add, to wipe his face. He courageously ventured into the crowd during the song ‘Mercury’ (see video below), and was stuck in the chest by something thrown from the audience during ‘Hunting For Witches’, forcing him to stop momentarily and exchange banter with the writhing crowd. I even caught a glimpse of someone’s feet rising above them, as though someone was attempting to do a crowd handstand! Very odd I must say.
Overall they must have played for at least an hour . Or maybe longer - I cannot exactly remember how long I was dancing and singing at the top of my voice for, but it was enough to steal my voice. Despite playing few of their older songs, the best from their newest albums were more or less covered, and Kele insisted on give the crowd a ‘breather’ once or twice with one of their slower tracks. I was disappointed that ‘So Here We Are’ was not included in that list, but this was the only one I felt they missed out, so I can hardly complain!
Seeing Bloc Party play live only increased my love for the band, and for Kele, who unfortunately didn’t join fellow band member Russell Lissack in taking off his top. However, it is defiantly my favourite gig to date, and despite my aching voice and feet I would happily pay to be part of such an amazing atmosphere once again.
MP3: Bloc Party- Halo