Friday 16 February 2007

The Fratellis, Rock City

The first thing to say is that as the Fratellis walked on stage they were accompanied by the biggest rainstorm of lager that I've every seen as everyone's plastic glasses went up in the air. This lager chucking phase it something new, that the gig going youth of today have invented, that was pretty much absent when I first started going to gigs. It's not pleasant and it's certainly not clever. The only thing that was worse was the punk era and it's even more repulsive spitting.

As usual they opened with Henrietta and they were good, they can certainly play. Although it was all very formulistic, even the set list seemed identical to what I'd heard they were playing six months ago. Most of it was pretty much flawless but it all seemed very predictable and I hadn't even seen them live before. Chelsea Dagger though, despite being the lager boys' clear favourite, was a huge disappointment, having less energy live than it does on record. It was a proper professional job but that's not really what you want from a gig, you just might as well buy the record. They'll need to come up with something more varied if they don't want to fade away very quickly.

The best track was the last one of the encore and it wasn't even one of theirs, they finished with a rocking version of Goldfrapps 'Ohh La La'. I don't like Goldfrapp but I liked this version.

Sunday 11 February 2007

Bloc Party, Rock City

It's a rare treat to get to see a band in the week after their new album is released, whilst their new material still feels fresh, rather than waiting months for them to perform.

They open the set as they do the new album with 'Song For Clay'. A lot of thought seems to have been given to the sequence of the songs on A Weekend In The City and it works well on the CD. As if the album is a story told chronologically. It works equally well live as tonight the tracks are played in the same order, albeit with songs from Silent Alarm, interspersed but even those tracks seemed to be picked specifically to blend in.

Like the album, the first half of the show is spiky. New songs such as ‘Hunting For Witches’ and the single ‘The Prayer’ are very much full of energy. Pulling no punches, telling a depressing tale of Britain today.

The end of Banquet is 'ruined' when Kele breaks a guitar string. No one seemed to mind, if anything it adds to the roughness of the sound.

A lively and surprisingly young crowd lap it all up even when Kele digs at youth culture. The song 'Uniform' questions their willingness to conform to a stereotype whilst thinking its rebellion. Tonight the masses hold up their camera phones and conform.

Again following the path of the album the gloom of the first half gives way to a calmer, steadier second half where (on the album) Kele goes on about his childhood and his loves. Not all of the new record is played and I particularly would have liked to have heard the superb 'I still remember'. Was it omitted because it may be a gay love song?

It’s an energetic if slightly dishevelled performance but as a gig going experience it's pretty damn near perfect. I haven't seen Bloc Party live before so I have no comparison but tonight they are quite stunning.

As for the record, the band have produced a wonderful, thought provoking, although slightly paranoid, album. Just as The Killers grew up with Sam's Town, so too now have Bloc Party.