Bloc Party - Virgin Megastore Manchester - 14.2.07

Designer Magazine's love hate affair with Bloc Party is well documented. With the exception of the Kaiser Chiefs has a band divided opinions in the office and here we find ourselves on Valentines day cosying up to Kelle and the boys.

With the new album taking to new epic climbs we felt that Bloc Party deserved reappraising. While Doherty's London was one of hedonistic partying and so called freedom of the Albion, Kelle Oberkelle offered something more introverted that appealed to the outsiders and his lowkey coming out of the closet which is explored over the albums lyrical themes makes the Bloc Party
of 2007 are a much more intriguing proposition than the closed door they first offered.

Mini Blocheads down the front, most of whom seem to be dancing like extras in a Gwen Stefani video, go wild the moment the band hit the stage. In comparison to the Towers Of London reaction the previous night it's clear that this is something special and long-lasting, we're just not sure what yet.

After a lowkey intro with "Song For Clay" the band head straight into "Waiting For The 7.15" which builds up with a Radiohead-esque xylophone intro before pummelling grim drum beats and the atmosphere of Sigur Ros. New single "The Prayer" is the heaviest mental shock to the system since Goldie came on the scene at 100mph. All scattered beats, repetitive looped vocals and a hook soaring skywards. That is goes into a Timbaland & Busta style middle 8 only emphasizes its genius.

"This Modern Love" would wake up any indie disco from it's malaise with post-punk rhythms, but it's old school Bloc Party "Banquet" which ends the 30 minute set much to the enjoyment of the kids down the front.

Later tonight most of the obsessive Bloc Heads will be down the front watching them play an intimate sell out gig at the Manchester Academy. For us this short sharp blast of Bloc Party gave us a glimpse to why so many people love the band, but while we loved some of the newer tracks with their new found love of beats we couldn't face a full on onslaught.

Alex McCann
Photos: Kirsty Umback

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