3.25.2009

On The List :: Bloc Party @ Terminal 5 [3.24.08]



The moment of the night comes late and it is brief. We're about three beats from the beginning of the second chorus to "The Prayer" when a young man rises from the crowd on the hands of his peers. In about the third row, he's raised straight up from his waist, almost crucifixion style, with his arms out and a look of complete, unrestrained awe. And in a heartbeat and a half, he drops. The lights explode in time and Kele screams: Tonight, make me unstoppable.

The image of youth defying gravity and a band having the power to elevate is fleeting. It's not that Bloc Party isn't trying. Kele's stage banter resembles the encouragement of an elementary school teacher; two parts encouraging, one part reinforcement, and one part constructive criticism. He expects more out of us, but, well, aren't we doing pretty decently all the same and, isn't there a little more we could give? Yes. Yes, there is more we can give.

Shift gears a minute, lower your eyes from the stage and stare at the backs of the two guys in front of me. They've paid their $31.50 like most of the rest of the crowd. They're reasonably dressed and know some of the words to some of the songs. They are what most people would call "fans." Unfortunately, they are locked in the battle of who can move less. It's like watching two statues start a staring contest. Simply, everyone loses. They don't clap during the first encore and they give nothing of themselves. I yell, as unironically as possible, "feel. feelings. Care about anything. Please." We are slow-clapping. They don't turn around. It would require moving.

"Ion Square" (Live @ 3.24.09)


And the crowd's effort isn't to be blamed on the set list. Bloc Party plays a majority of the new record, the favorites off the first record, and a few choice cuts off the middle one. It's anything but safe, moving from one high-wire routine to another. And in a few spots, it doesn't work. "Ion Square" doesn't sound nearly as epic live but, frankly, if it were any more epic our hearts might pop. A little comedown isn't so bad because when "Song For Clay" becomes "Banquet" there isn't time to breathe. After the first encore, the band unleashes "Flux" like a hot mess into the crowd. The lights blink and go green. Everyone moves. This is a song that no one got in September '07. It's March '09 and there isn't a person in the audience with questions.

The band closes with "This Modern Love" and a message: "This is for all the people who supported us on that first record four years ago." Has it been that long? Yes, it has. About half the crowd claps. Silent Alarm seems like forever ago but "This Modern Love" still seems fresh. It makes people dance. It makes me reflective. We are terribly, terribly alone. And yet, here we are, all together. It's moving. Which is exactly what everyone should have been doing from the outset.

Listen :: Bloc Party - "Signs" (AVH Remix)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are a douchebag. Who are you to judge how people should experience a concert?!

Jeremy said...

I mean, you're joking, right? No one is telling anyone how to enjoy a concert - but if you're going to pay $30+ to get in, the least you can do is try to have fun. It is borderline embarrassing to the band when they are killing themselves to put on a great show - and they are putting on a great show - and you cant even bob your head a little. Get involved in your own way, but just try to care a little, it might even be fun.

Andy S said...

Yeah, weird vibe last night. It was like people wanted to be there just to know/say/tweet/whatever that they went to the BP show. Am I the only one who felt that way? All credit to Kele for not giving up. I certainly wouldn't have come out for that second encore after getting hit with a f'ing towel (are you kidding me) during the first encore. I see last night as sort of a missed opportunity for a great, great show. It needed to be more of an energy exchange. My two bits.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - I agree with Andy completely. Although I couldn't believe anyone would do this, I was happy when so many of those people left before the first and second encores.... really distilled the crowd and made the end of concert much more satisfying. although for the record I think that was a pair of womens underwear, and not a towel, that hit him in the chest.... it was a great toss though.

32feet said...

The first encore was the most embarassing thing I've seen in four years of concert-going in this city. When a crowd of 2,000 people can't earn an encore, the band shouldn't even come back out. If I were Kele and the boys, I would have stayed backstage. As for the second and third encores, those of us who stayed really hit our stride. It's evolution, baby.

Jeremy said...

"kick drum pounds off beat high hats remember to look bored/we suck each others faces and make sure we are noticed"

perhaps not the most eloquent prose, but i think it hits the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

The Wed show (3/25/09) was amazing, and Kele kept saying how much better the crowd was then. Does anyone know the name of the song they played on Wed that isn't on one of the three albums?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I have the answer. The extra song played on the second night was "The Marshals are Dead" from their ep.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear Wednesday was better. I was at a loss Tuesday night. Good for kele to call those kids out.