Bloc Party w/ The Kills and Scout Niblett (Wednesday, March 30th,
2005, First Avenue Minneapolis)
The intense hype that has surrounded Bloc Party caught my attention three months ago, and I was excited to see a bill at First Avenue jam-packed with four bands I’d been set on for a while: Bloc Party, The Kills, The Ponys and Scout Niblett. I was disappointed when I learned of The Pony’s departure from the tour. (I wanted to see them pull off that song with the lyrics “Ten fingers and eleven toes.”) But the evening’s altered 3 band lineup did not fail to please, as the nearly sold-out First Avenue Main Room danced and joyfully sang along.
Sporting a blonde bob with drum side kick at arms reach to pound out gritty drum parts, Scout Niblett pranced about the stage wailing and belting out her own brand of rock and roll. The sound was fresh but familiar, with vocals much like Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis mixed with Chan Marshall of Cat Power. Add a reversed White Stripes lineup and you’ve got yourself Scout Niblett. In an often pretentious genre, Scout shied away from pretense by means of disheveled innocence and pursuit of a plain old good time, as shown by her call and response songs. Scout Niblett is what is needed (especially in light of the breakup of The Unicorns) to keep the childlike fun in rock and roll.
The Kills started off their set by expressing their love for Minneapolis. The duo, comprised of the adorably fashion savvy Allison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, drove through their performance with sexual tension and angst. At times, both members added vocals atop the pre-recorded drums and slinky live guitar parts. Frontwoman Allison Mosshart worked the crowd with a seductive strut (and almost scandalously long black hair) while guitarist Jamie Hince stood beside her with his own posh demeanor. Mosshart balanced the mic stand on her hip during down time, pushing it about the stage with a swagger uniquely her own. The group played cuts off of their newly released album “No Wow” along with a few older ones. The set ended with Hince thrusting at Mosshart with his guitar, slowly lowering her to the ground with slight body convulsions. Although this was somewhat kitschy and entertaining, it felt rather forced and planned out like much of the rest of their show.
Lead singer Kele Okereke, known for his exuberant smile and antics, exuded what seemed like sincere happiness and gratitude as he led his bandmates in their fifty minute set. Bloc Party is an amalgamation of different men, none of whom have the same style--bassist Gordon Moakes wore a DFA1979 shirt, which scored many points in my book. Starting off the set with “Like Eating Glass,” the first song off of their debut full length “Silent Alarm,” I was worried the band might run through the disc in exact order. That was not the case, however, as they drew songs from the “Tulips EP” and the self-titled “Bloc Party EP”.
The band stood almost stock-still as Okereke beamed while he sang and danced about. Not to suggest the others were not enjoying themselves, as evidenced by flashing smiles at each other and occasionally the crowd, with an “I can’t believe this” sort of look. Though Bloc Party’s brand of angular dance punk is reminiscent of bands such as Gang of 4, The Rapture and Franz Ferdinand, they still maintain their own sound, marked by distinctly quick and catchy guitar riffs. And though glamour and a flashy rock show is not what Bloc Party is all about, both still work marvelously for them.
Emily Hanson is at firstname.lastname@example.org