I’d been looking forward to seeing Bloc Party for a long time, slightly gutted, however, with the venue change from the burnt out St James (ideally situated in town for post-function drinks and trouble making) to the TelstraClear Pacific in Manakau.
Although the stadium – holding 3000 – was packed out, including the tiered seating, the mosh was friendly and pleasant with only a minimal amount of drunken rogues pushing and teetering – but unfortunately plenty of annoying underagers (as it was an all ages gig) who were either wasted or toting fairy wings.
Support was Cut off Your Hands, looking very 50’s rock and roll-y with black, turtleneck skivvies. It was the start of a fantastic set.
After a good half hour of annoying techno and dimmed lights, on came the English foursome, opening with “Song For Clay” the first track off Weekend in the City. They played several classics including “Blue Light”, “The Prayer”, and newer songs such as “Hunting for Witches” and “Waiting for the 7.18”.
I secured a prime front spot with a view of guitarist Russel Lissack’s extreme side-swept widow’s peak, which became the ultimate blond emo sidefringe of all time when flicked sideways with a nonchalant toss of the head; and Matt Tong, the AMAZING drummer, had worked himself into such a frenzy that he played shirtless for the majority of the gig.
After the usual ‘pretending to finish, waiting for the crowd to call them back on routine, frontman Kele Okereke introducing us to the “second half” of the show, finally letting loose, imploring us to “TEAR THE FUCKING ROOF OFF!” Bassist Gordon Moakes switched to drums from track ‘Sunday’, joining Tong – shirtless, with trackies and specs and absolutely kicking ass, which amped the crowd up. Other ‘antics’ included Okereke leaping off stage and running all over the venue with an extended mike lead into the seated areas to the right of the stage and along the front of the stage for “She’s Hearing Voices”, and getting the crowd to do spirit fingers to the fast intro of “Like Eating Glass”. The gig finished, all too soon, with hit track “Helicopter”.
One sweaty punter summed up the experience aptly, “I’m so wet”. Hear, hear.