Bloc Party, Corn Exchange, Edinburgh
Monday 10 October 2005
Then again, such people are not likely to get excited and maintain their enthusiasm for a band who don't deserve it. So those who back Bloc Party's Mercury-nominated Silent Alarm album as one of the records of the year are familiar with the band's status as songwriters of note, their simple but eloquent lyrical concerns dressed up in an exciting blend of post-pubescent tension and angular guitar riffing.
Bloc Party are neither wild men nor political drum-bangers, and nor do they break with any musical conventions beyond the current trend of paying tribute to underground heroes like Sonic Youth or Gang of Four with almost everything they do. They are, in many respects, the idols of the iPod rock'n'roll generation, their music as much a diversionary lifestyle choice as a source of true inspiration.
Yet many other bands also occupy this category, although plenty fall down where it truly counts - on the live stage. Anyone bluffing their way to success on the back of a hit single and a flaccid repertoire will inevitably be found out here, whereas Bloc Party substantiate their success by turning in a charged and high-quality performance.
Almost knowingly, the singer and guitarist Kele Okereke plays down his songs' central concerns. "This one's about heartbreak," he offers glibly, while "Banquet" is "about sex". The closing and appropriately anthemic "Tulips" is a "power ballad". Yet his fluent and almost menacingly charged performance (at odds with his polite speaking voice) imbue "Like Eating Glass", "Price of Gas" and "Two More Years" with a charismatic tension that captures the fevered crowd's imagination.
That's not to say that the ability to play a great gig will result in the lengthy career that Bloc Party are being groomed for. But - like a song downloaded, enjoyed and then deleted from that iPod - they're simply all about this moment. An hour and a quarter in their company and you won't mistake them in the crowd again.
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