The Manchester G-Mex has recently been re-named to Manchester Central (a sensible name with it being within the center of the city), and since then the venue has began hosting musical concerts, one of which is tonight’s act from London â€“ Bloc Party.
First support band Foals (**) are within the same genre as Bloc Party, being that of the modern indie rock variety, but by no means are they in the same league. For a start, frontman Yannis Philippakis isn’t even singing towards the crowd throughout the whole performance, which to most would appear rather rude. Their songs also sound way too much like one another, with little interactivity with the audience in-between any songs in the set. However, on the plus side the band are quite mobile and active on the stage, even if the guitarist is constantly thrusting his body backwards and forwards as if he were committing an act of sexual intercourse.
After the poor attempt at giving the audience a good time by Foals is over, second band on the bill The Cribs (***) have a better idea at what it is to entertain. They get things off to a better start by actually facing towards the crowd as they play, with their indie style being more passionate and varied than the previous act. The Cribs pull off a performance that should make Bloc Party proud to have placed them as a supporting act, definitely warming the crowd up with a set including ‘Men’s Needs’ and ‘Our Bovine Public’. Even the crowd are more pumped up for this guest act, evidence that either this band are much more popular with the Manchester kids, or are plainly much more effective as a band.
A 30 minute or so wait is in order before the main act are to give the fans what they’re after. Bloc Party (****) are welcomed to the stage with a warm welcome, men and women from across the arena screaming after patiently awaiting their appearance. ‘Song For Clay (Disappear Here)’ starts their performance wonderfully, with a good percentage of the Manchester Central occupants singing back most of the lyrics straight back to Kele Okereke, who has an amazing vocal talent on display all night. The band’s set-list mainly consisted of the band’s more popular work, most notably being singles, but still having a mixture of both their older and more recent material showcased. The crowd go crazy during songs like ‘Banquet’, ‘Hunting For Witches’, and ‘So Here We Are’, jumping up and down across the venue floor and generally enjoying themselves and the band to the full. During ‘The Prayer’, Kele is prancing about and dancing onstage in-between the verses and choruses, getting in and the joy and action that the crowd are well into. When we reach ‘Flux’ the show reaches an entire new element in the band’s usual routine and way of going about things, with it being their most electronically crafted pieces to date, the band set off a group of green lasers shooting across the old train hanger turned music venue. Incredible enough just to make you enjoy the laser work if you’re not too keen on the band themselves.
There’s no doubt that Bloc Party aren’t the most active bands in their performances, but they rarely have flaws in their sound quality and act professionally as musicians. It’s no wonder theyâ€™re respected as one of todayâ€™s better modern indie bands, and if they play like this then they deserve just a more spotlight attention than they’re getting currently.
Written by Zach Redrup