Bloc Party stunned by scale of Shockwaves NME Awards Big Gig

But Kele Okereke and co make the O2 Arena their new home

Bloc Party admitted onstage they were overwhelmed by the size of the show as they played their slot at the Shockwaves NME Awards Big Gig tonight (February 28).

Following Klaxons at the O2 Arena, the band opened their set with second album stomper ‘Hunting For Witches’, before they got the whole of the giant venue screaming back ‘Banquet’ to them word for word.

Clearly impressed by the volume and the size of the audience, frontman Kele Okereke paused the show to take in the scale.

He said: “This is quite a big old venue isn’t it? I saw Prince here last year… now for our own brand of funk rock!”

Launching into ‘This Modern Love’, Bloc Party had the crowd clapping along in unison, before quickly moving into the hypnotic beat of hit single ‘The Prayer’.

“We only have a few songs left for you, but luckily they’re goodies,” Okereke then informed the crowd.

“I just have one request – can you turn the lights on?” he added, though the extra lights were not forthcoming. “I’ll just have to trust you’re all there, as I can’t see you.”

With ’So Here We Are’ taking the crowd “back to 2005”, the band decided to go new rave for their climax.

“Does anyone have any glowsticks in the house or did you use them up for Klaxons?” asked Okereke. “Oh, that’s sad. You might need them for this song…”

With last single ’Flux’ the band then wrapped things up, admitting that only the lure of playing with this year’s Godlike Geniuses had tempted them out of the studio.

“We’re writing our third record, but we thought we’d come out and support the godlike Manic Street Preachers,” explained Bloc Party’s frontman as they finished their set with wave upon wave of crowd surfers and onstage pyrotechnics.

Bloc Party played:

‘Hunting For Witches’

‘Waiting For The 7.18’

‘Banquet’

‘This Modern Love’

‘The Prayer’

‘So Here We Are’

‘Flux’

‘Helicopter’

For all the awards coverage head to NME.COM/awards now. We have exclusive picture galleries, live webcams, minute-by-minute blogs straight from the ceremony and Big Gig and video interviews with the biggest names at the ceremony.

That’s just the beginning – the ceremony is being broadcast on E4 at 11pm (GMT) tonight (February 28), with highlights following tomorrow (29) on Channel 4 from 11.50pm.

Meanwhile, next week’s issue of NME – on UK newsstands from March 5 – will contain the ultimate coverage, interviews and photos from the 2008 Shockwaves NME Awards.