Bloc Party: Northumbria University, Newcastle: Tuesday Oct 6
As the grumpiest men in indie hit the north, have Kele and his gang really had enough?
There’s a rumour going around that Bloc Party have personalities saggier than Judy Finnegan’s tits. The buzz is that Kele’s grown irritated with rock’n’roll, and despairs of the ‘poisonous culture’ of having too much fun. Tonight, as the band amble onstage to the sound of dark, brooding strings, with faces like severely slapped arses, it seems they’re intent on proving the rumours right. That is, until they kick off with ‘So Here We Are’, a song so intense, it could shake the stage scaffolding to the ground. It also pairs their dark cryptic lyrics and their Radiohead-meets-Joy Division guitar arrangements, with, heaven forbid, a sense of humour.
“Who likes sex? This is a song about fucking,” Kele announces to a bunch of randy Geordies before catapulting into the exquisite ‘Banquet’. NME can’t help but blush, but there’s no denying that the Earth moved for us as the Newcastle crowd unite to jump en masse to the sounds of Russell Lissak’s ferocious guitar.
As studded lights illuminate the back of the stage, Bloc Party emerge from the darkness with a pounding rendition of ‘The Marshals Are Dead’, a set highlight. But it’s the arrival of ‘She’s Hearing Voices’ and ‘Like Eating Glass’ where the London band’s playfulness comes to the fore. The latter track seeing Kele aim his guitar like a gun at his fellow bandmates and it’s moments like this where Bloc Party look as po-faced as Barney the Dinosaur.
Treating the crowd to not one but two encores (a reward for being “better than Middlesbrough”), Newcastle reciprocates by treating Kele to a messiah’s welcome, as he plunges into a hoard of teenagers with cocksure cheekiness. Tonight Bloc Party showed Newcastle how to have fun. Let’s get that rumour started. Ash Dosanjh