The Rescue Rooms has been the scene of many a ‘next big thing’ gig. This year the 500-capacity venue has witnessed performances from Keane, Razorlight and The Killers, all of which have gone onto bigger and more profitable venues in a matter of months.
Tonight there’s a feeling that this will almost certainly be the last time this London four-piece will play here. They’ve managed to sell out the venue despite having only released three singles to date, a testament to the media’s ability to blow up bands beyond all proportion.
On first listen Bloc Party sound something like The Cure, with a hint of The Specials thrown in on some of their gloomier moments – this is hardly a bad starting point, but the main question is, as ever, whether they can live up to this venerable billing.
It’s hot, packed to the rafters and expectation is high. A good performance tonight and it’ll be written in the stars that their debut album, set for release early next year, will be a hit and that next time they tour the country the venues they play will be considerably bigger.
Bloc Party don’t look like your average rock band. A black singer fronting the latest indie saviours is certainly uncommon, then there’s a guitarist who looks like he’s still at prep school. It’s a good thing that they let the music do the talking, and speak to us it certainly does. Kicking off with The Marshals Are Dead, the venue is immediately silenced. “Attention! Unbelievers!” shouts front man Kele Okereke over a menacing drumbeat, and we’re compelled to see what the band have in store over the next 40 minutes or so.
Magnificently catchy debut single Banquet excites many in the crowd, and the inevitable sing-along is word perfect. Live, it is quite frankly thrilling: its spiky guitars and Okereke’s wide-ranging vocal ability make this one of the best singles of recent times. New single Helicopter is arguably the fastest and heaviest thing they’ve written in their short careers, and tonight it’s despatched with enormous frenzy. “Are You Hoping For A Miracle?” screams Okereke on the chorus, with more songs of this quality the album should be nothing short of one.
That’s not to say everything on display cuts the proverbial mustard -there is a slightly dull moment. She’s Hearing Voices is a bit too dark for comfort, and meanders to its conclusion without leaping forward and declaring its brilliance like some of the other songs on show.
But who cares? The band have been playing as if their lives depended on it and Okereke has been smiling and joking with the crowd all night. Their puppy dog enthusiasm coupled with a few stunning moments is more than enough to make this a gig people will be talking about for some time to come. They end with their biggest hit – “to date!” jokes Okereke, prompting yet another cheer from the crowd. As the assured glory of Little Thoughts closes, it’s quite clear that this is just the start of something quite big indeed.
With The Libertines seemingly in turmoil, and The Others unable to muster anything with a tune, Bloc Party areLondon’s bright indie rock hopes. ‘God bless Bloc Party,’ declare T-Shirts around the venue – this couldn’t be more appropriate.