Live Music + Gig Reviews

Bloc Party @ Academy 3, Manchester

13 December 2004

Right now, having just got back from seeing the hottest new band of the year, in the smallest venue that they’re likely to play in a long time, my ears are still ringing, I’m still drenched in sweat and beer, and I’m still grinning like an idiot.

Bloc Party took the stage tonight in Academy 3, a 500 capacity smoke box, and began with possibly the most obscure track of their short back catalogue, The Marshals Are Dead, a B-side from their very first single. First impressions: the sound was perfectly balanced, the band were playing well and Kele Okereke had the biggest smile across his face, beaming out into the crowd, which was reflected by every member of the crowd.

They began to roll out the hits quite early on with Helicopter, Little Thoughts and the thunderous breakthrough single, Banquet, played with enormous power and no shortage of precision. You might think that this might have left the second half of the set a little barren of songs that people actually knew, seeing as Bloc Party’s album is slated for release in early 2005.

However, you would be wrong. When everyone cheered as Kele announced that This Modern Love was up next, he asked “how do you know it?!” with just a trace of irony – it’s been on the illegal download circuit for a few weeks now. So, as a result, every track was received with applause, dancing and general festive cheer.

Highlights amongst a set which never dipped even slightly below excellent included Like Eating Glass, She’s Hearing Voices and set closer, The Answer, but frankly and no hyperbole included, it was all bloody brilliant.

Tickets for this gig were originally sold for £8, I paid £25 from a tout, although I hear that the price later inflated to E40, however even that would have been worth it. In a year when I have seen more gigs than ever before, this was the highlight: a band on the cusp of greatness, on top form, in a great venue. Believe the hype, believe it all, I can’t find a single fault with tonight’s performance – you must see this band.

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