Bloc Party and Patrick Wolf
Nottingham Rock City on 16th October 2005
Reviewed by Andreas on 16th October 2005
Nottingham is known for a few things. Robin Hood, guncrime, and more recently its venues and music scene. So, after a few drinks and pleasantries on a slightly dreary autumn night, I made my way into the show of the night - the sold out Bloc Party concert.
Entering the stage in a black hooded cape, Patrick Wolf stands tall and confident in front of a seething mass of people - most of which rudely chatter on throughout his show. Such deterrents doesn't affect Wolf as he and his band, drummer and woman with a chello, strike up the gloomy gospel.
'Teignmouth' is perhaps the most beautiful song ever, as Patrick Wolf sits behind his piano, singing about birds flying south and doing so with a passion that's rare. Sadly, the sound is utterly buggered, something that shows further into the set, as forthcoming single, 'Tristan' is cut short and performed half a cappella, half with some drums.
During 'Paris', the crowd chattering got so loud I had to strain to hear the music. Cue a desire to punch someone...
Still, as 'Jacob's Ladder', an album track off Wolf's 'Wind in the Wires' album is turned from white noise hell into a ravishing, melancholic blend of viola, cello and a simply AMAZING voice, it becomes clear that Patrick Wolf may just be a genius. He also gets an absolute plus for using a baritone ukulele to play songs like 'The Libertine' and the beautiful 'Wind in the Wires'. See, not enough people use the ukulele. Or mini-guitar, if you want to be technical.
In conclusion, Patrick Wolf deserves better sound and a better crowd, for his music is the closest thing I've come to hearing magic in a long time.
By now this band needs no further introduction. Coming onstage in a mist of blue light and smoke, they quickly get down to business. 'So here we are' opens the set, it's gentle mood and gorgeous guitar line filling the hall.
It is clear that the general public has embraced Bloc Party, as 2000 people dance to songs like 'Banquet', 'She's hearing Voices' and late in the set, 'Helicopter'. I've not seen people in tracksuit go to see rock bands before either...
Recent single 'Two More Years' was perhaps not as well received as their previous releases, but personally I thought it was one of the highlights of the gig - it displayed a band who're tight and confident, and unlike some of their earlier songs, it didn't turn into an aural mess live. Well played indeed.
But it is perhaps through the songs that weren't singles that Bloc Party's gentle charm comes across best. 'This Modern Love' stirs the heart, and the gorgeous 'Tulips,' which is dedicated to David, a boy in the crowd who celebrated his birthday by seeing Bloc Party. Well, David, I hope you had a good time. 'Positive Tension' is a wild explosion of energy, and the band seem to be very happy. And possibly pissed off their heads. Some might say that's basically the same thing. Older songs like 'The Marshals Are Dead' obviously haven't been heard by the vast mass of record buyers, but it was excellent nonetheless.
Throughout the show, it is clear that the audience is divided. There is the casual fan who's probably just bought tickets due to an add in the press, and then there are the maniacs who sing along to every song, and then start crying as Bloc Party leave the stage. It's very strange, seeing people ignore a band until they play the singles mixed with people who literally fight to get to the front. And as the last notes of 'Pioneers' drift out of the speakers to end the show, it is clear that Bloc Party can go even further, if they can only engage the audience with their visions, for they are glorious indeed.
All in all, it was an excellent concert. I particularly enjoyed Patrick Wolf's set, despite sound troubles. Hopefully I'll get the chance to witness him live again.
As for Bloc Party, they've shown what a professional force they can be live, and their future looks very bright indeed.
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