BLOC PARTY with the Kills and Noisettes at the Docks, September 12. Tickets: $22.50. Attendance: 3,000. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
I could have gone to the U2 concert but went to see Bloc Party instead. Supporting the band while they're still fresh seemed like the right thing to do. I'm sure those fogeys in U2 will stick around for at least another decade. Nobody talks about the Strokes four years after they broke, so you've gotta wonder if Bloc Party might be over a couple of years from now.
They deserve to last. Bloc Party emit a kind of electricity, that intangible thing that makes you love a band so much that you have to see them live just so you can take a piece of it home.
Maybe that's what lead singer Kele Okereke meant when he sang about "the fear and the consumption," as a shirtless Matt Tong held down the rhythm section with his militaristic drumming through the whirling dervish of Helicopter.
That abstract quality lurks in the utterly propulsive post-punk honed to its sharpest point on the band's Silent Alarm debut, which they pretty much recreated at the Docks . It turned a typically docile crew of Toronto scenesters into something other than the vacant-eyed zombies I encounter at most concerts. This time, the sweaty faces were all wearing one look: sheer delight.
Let it be said, though, that the Docks is a crappy concert venue. The place is too narrow, the savage jungle heat made it hard to catch your breath, and trying to navigate the maze they'd erected to discourage underage drinking was ridiculous.
I was distracted from the venue's weakness by the light show, a violent flurry of seizure-inducing pulses that caught many fans by surprise but was well suited to the frenetic nature of Bloc Party's more jittery songs. In between those songs, Okereke signed casts and put on sunglasses thrown onstage, which he discarded though when he realized the shades made it hard to see his instrument.
Like their predecessors Gang of Four, Bloc Party write songs about politics. Everyone chanting along to a song like Price Of Gas made you feel like the good guys might just come out on top, even if after the show we all piled into cabs powered by gas-combustion engines.