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03 Apr 05

bloc party: the next big thing?

withdrawal! i hadn’t been in a show in 3 whole weeks! saturday night gave me my fix, with the bloc party and ponys at the opera house in toronto. let me start with a complaint, ’cause that’s what i do best. i’m not a big fan of the opera house. i’d only been there once before, to see the dears kick spiritualized’s ass, and my opinion was essentially the same this time: a big empty room with no place to lean or sit, complete with stone floors and a zillion people. all of that combined yields a bit of an annoying night with a sore back as an added bonus. but yes, there was a show to talk about as well.

we arrived out of the crazy sleet-filled night just as the ponys hit the stage. truth be told, when we bought tickets, i was more excited about seeing the ponys than the headliners, although the bloc party’s disc has grown on me substantially in the last month. regardless, the ponys’ laced with romance album is one of my favourite albums of the last several months, so i was pleased to see they were touring. unfortunately, their set wasn’t quite what i’d hoped – they played 9 or 10 songs, but only 2 that i knew (thankfully they had the good sense to play my 2 favourites, 10 fingers 11 toes and let’s kill ourselves). my fantastic interweb research skills tell me that this can be explained by the imminent release of a new album, apparently entitled celebration castle. anyway, i didn’t enjoy the new songs as much as the familiar (as is i think the norm) but they were reasonably enjoyable, although anne found them to be a bit samey. the sound wasn’t exactly fantastic though, and this was especially illustrated during what little stage banter there was – i made out approximately zero of his ten spoken words.

the bloc party came on after a suitably long delay to build the suspense, and were greeted by the crowd as though they really are the Next Big Thing. their cd took a while to grow on me, but after a few listens i began to agree with a lot of the praise i’d read. having said that though, i read a review by stu berman this weekend that summed them up pretty well: they are missing that one song to catapult them to franz ferdinand-esque levels. banquet is good and helicopter is solid, but where is the take me out? perhaps on the next album? anyway, as anne pointed out, if you like the album, you’ll like their live show. it was high energy and stayed true to the source material, and the crowd seemed pretty entertained. i wasn’t so impressed with the number of my-first-concert’s in attendance though – seriously, how many pictures can you take of the band over several hundred heads? i can tell you how they all turned out: the same! oh, and head-filled. anyway, they played an hour-ish long set during which the lead singer lost a contact, but carried on like a trooper and finished. we left at the end of the set to beat the inevitable crazy rush for the coat check, and they still hadn’t come back for what was apparently a four song encore when we had finally rescued our coats and left. it was fun and i’m glad we didn’t miss out, but i don’t think it’ll be making any end of year lists for me.

edit: oops, i almost forgot to mention the super anal security guys the opera house hired. it was the first time i’d been frisked at a show in ages, and i’ve never heard so much random shouting/commanding about forming organized lineups in my life. and it didn’t help that their one security guard looked like he could’ve been andre the giant’s brother. HUGE.

2 Responses to “bloc party: the next big thing?”

  1. 1
    vanessa Says:

    i also went to see bloc party last night, and they sounded great from where i was standing (front centre of the balcony). it was nice that they were chatty and energetic and all, but i think the big problem, their big stumbling block if you will, is that they really have no stage presence. no charm, no charisma, no sparkle that really sucks you in. theyre the kind of band you’re glad you saw once, but wouldn’t make an effort to see again. but i DO love the cd.

    and fuck, do i ever hate the opera house.

  2. 2
    pager Says:

    yeah, the bloc party sounded much better than the ponys. and i can’t really disagree with you…they certainly didn’t grab me either.

    bring on josh rouse!

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
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