I live in Salford. I go to gigs. I write about the gigs. And other stuff...

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bloc Party, Manchester Academy, 17th April 2005

Tonight we get there on time cos it's Pretty Girls Make Graves supporting and they've been pretty great the two times we saw 'em last year, at the Hop And Grape on Valentine's Day and at the Leeds Festival. They take a while to get going tonight; a muted version of "This Is Our Emergency" is depatched early on and it's not until they play a couple of excellent new songs mid-set that they start hitting their stride. The closing "Speakers Push The Air" is more like it, with lead singer Andrea Zollo really going for it and clearly having a whale of a time. Then they're gone.

Bloc Party start things off with the pounding "Like Eating Glass" and then launch into the magnificent "Positive Tension". It's a great start and the crowd lap it up. The band look relaxed and happy, like they're taking this fame thing in their stride, Kele especially is far more at ease with the crowd than when we saw him at the Night And Day back in October last year.

Muddled versions of "This Modern Love" and "Blue Light" bring us all back down to earth. They seem to struggle with the quieter numbers, trying to beef them up instead of staying true to the recorded versions, and end up throwing too much into the pot, leaving a big gooey mess.

No worries. Right after the disappointment of "Blue Light" we get the double whammy of "Banquet" and "Helicopter", the evening's undisputed highlights. Surf's up as the moshpit swells, depositing young thrill-seekers into the eager arms of the security at stage front.

An excellent rendition of "Pioneers" rounds off the main set just nine songs in but they're back on a couple of minutes later to give us "So Here We Are" and show us that they can do the quiet ones when they put their minds to it. "Price Of Gas" follows and Kele's call of "we're gonna win this" gets the crowd going again. "Tulips" is magnificent - another highlight - and "The Answer" rounds things off to a very satisfactory conclusion.

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