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)