Tuesday, October 09, 2007

10/03/07, Bloc Party @WAMU Theater, Madison Square Garden

tl;dr: Awesome show, hung out with cool peeps, spotted Syd Butler, met Kele and Gordon(!!!), and totally creeped out my future husband as well as some little girls.

The full story: (No photos because I had severe electronic equipment brain fart that day and not only did I forget to bring my camera, but I forgot to recharge my phone)

After work I rushed over to meet the group at Madison Square Garden to see Bloc Party. It took me a while to figure out which entrance they were at and since my phone was officially dead I could barely get in 3-5 seconds-long conversations with Kelly to pinpoint where they would be. Before catching up with them, I was amused to notice that the electronic marquee proudly announced that "Block Party" would be playing that evening.

I'd never been to a show at Madison Square Garden. In fact, I'd never gone on principle because a) I hate seated venues unless I'm watching ballet or opera or som such, and b) tickets for shows at MSG are usually pretty pricey. But this gig was at the WAMU Theater, which has a GA standing pit in it. I don't know if they do that for other parts of MSG or how those other parts look, but I was game after hearing that.

We were pretty much the front of the line and got in without any trouble and proceeded to walk what seemed like several miles to get to the venue. We took up front and center, excited for what was to come.

I must say, that I was a little embarrassed since I had no idea who would be opening. Long before I had the notion in my head I would not be going to this show, and the decision wasn't made until pretty much as late in the game as possible so I hadn't been keeping track of what would be going down. However, I was delighted as Smoosh took the stage first. The delight was soon replaced with appreciation and even dread.

"Jesus, I remember first hearing about them in COLLEGE. That was like 2-3 fucking years ago. And they're STILL so young!" I thought.

Not my cup of tea musically, but they really are talented and totally...TOTALLY cute. I almost died when their pint-sized bass player came out. Girl bass player+pint-sized bass player=practically dying from cute overload. The thing was easily taller than she was and I wouldn't be surprised if it weighed more than her too.

"Guys, I want to take her home. I want to take her home and give her milk and cookies and just ask her how her day was and listen to everything she says with my chin resting on my hands and a blissed out look on my face," I blurted out.

Rsponse from the group, "Yea...that would be stealing, so no, I don't think you should do that."

It was especially cute when the girls did a cover of "This Modern Love."

The second act was Tokyo Police Club. Alright, so I'd *heard* of them, but I hadn't bothered to really follow them hardcore. I think I heard one song and really that was as far as I had gone in exploring their musical library. Needless to say I was impressed. Nay, I think as a group we were all impressed (except for Alex, since he was totally a big fan of theirs, already saw them before and knows all the lyrics and everything). The general consensus among those of us who had just been enlightened by their performance was that we were all particularly impressed by their keyboardist/vocalist/shoutist Graham Wright. He was making the keyboards rue the day they were created as he stomped and shouted away. Not to mention he could bang the shit out of a tambourine.

"Did you see him? Did you see him stomp and play that thing??" Josh asked incredulously afterwards. We all agreed in awe that Graham was our favorite and we cheered him on uproariously as they left the stage.

Hmm, bespectacled, cute in that kinda "aw, shucks" way, AND earnest? A deadly combination (for meeeeeeeee). He is now officially future husband material.*

*The title future husband does not denote any serious intentions of marriage, it is merely a formality of designating those guys who have escaped the bonds of being "cute" or "hot" and has impressed the writer in some way beyond the superficial and is not based in reality in anyway (eg. former future husband Nikola Tesla). Future husband status is not a permanent distinction and may be passed on to a new candidate, but former future husbands can always be reinstated.

If you go and check out their discography it's all EPs and LPs.

"The set is going to go like that," Alex warned, and he was very correct.

It's basically a handful of songs that were enough to fill what I thought was a 30-40 minute set. And they sort of do a drive-by on you with it, just not as scary or with deadly consequences. I mean it comes fast and hard but I don't mean like speed metal hard and fast. Lots lovely of energy is how I'd describe it. I really don't want to label some of their songs with "anthem," because when people describe something as being "anthem" it makes me think of either those songs that are all big and no substance that you really can't imagine listening to for your leisure and/or gets played a lot at sports games or in a car commercial; or it just make makes me think of fist-pumping electronic/dance music. Nothing inherently bad with either of those, but just not something I want to saddle these guys with. It's tough, with all the shouting and clap alongs, and easy to dance to rhythm with its catchy, crisp drumming skipping over the blunt, fat and heavily rhythmic basslines. I guess they have all the anthem-like components for sure. I mean, for Pete's sake, one of the songs on "A Lesson In Crime" is "Cheer it On," and it's chock full of that bop along/clap along to beat AND the chorus calls out their name. And yes, people were screaming it out at the show.

At the same time, it just isn't. You could totally just sit down and listen to it and just enjoy it in a non-arena setting. Though you may bop your head along to it. This shit will make you want to dance. And I mean 80s white kids in a teen movie dancing. Hoppin' back and forth giddily and doing something a little too reminescent of The Carlton.

Anyway, "Box" is very much kind of what I mean when I say it's one of those songs that had all the anthem-like qualities while being...not so? Also I just happen to like the remixed version of "Be Good." It totally makes me want to get up and dance around the room for some reason.


So Bloc Party takes the stage. Savage show as always. Even Kele noticed the "Block Party" signage and told a story about how when earlier in the day, as they exited their bus, a woman came up to ask them if they were in a band or something. He answered affirmative and the woman went on to berate him about how they were blocking traffic. "People need to get to work you know," she scolded, then proceeded to say she was going to report them to all the papers in the city.

"Good thing there's another band playing here tonight...So if you see anything about 'Block Party,' that's just a secret between us."

They played "Flux," and did two encores. For the second encore, they played "Helicopter" and Smoosh came out and danced and it was fun and cute and everything. A feel-good cap to a great show.

Folks, this is not the amazing part of this tale. Before we go on, let me pause to let you know that Kelly love Matt Tong. LOVES HIM. Now she had come to this performance in a Polvo t-shirt. For those of you who don't know, Matt Tong lists Polvo as one of his influences.

Details are fuzzy and I forget if this was during the first or second encore, but all of the sudden, at the end of a song, Matt Tong rises from behind his drum set. He starts walking towards the crowd. All of the fucking sudden it's all in slowmo. It's as if everyone sensed he was walking towards Kelly. I looked at her. I almost wanted to say something to her, but it was like in a nightmare you know? Where you can't yell no matter how much you want to and how loud you think you're yelling? Except in this case I was being drowned out by all the people in the audience. She was frozen like a deer caught in the headlights, staring at Matt Tong as he approached closer and closer with a drumstick clutched in his hand.

I swear, the song from "Chariots of Fire" started playing in my head. Matt reached down and shook her hand. Of course the crowd around us surged to get to him. He held out the drumstick to her and other hands reached and grabbed for it. Kelly was almost hesitant to take it. At this point Matt actually PHYSICALLY batted the other hands away and said, "No, HER." and handed the drumstick directly to Kelly. She was on the verge of tears.

As we started filing out towards the exit I was just bouncing off the walls. From the adrenaline of the show as well as just being so excited about what had happened.

"Holy shit, Kelly, you're not going to cry are you?" I asked half-joking and half-serious.

But as we were about to exit, another random, yet AWESOME thing happened. The whole time Kelly was in shock, cradling the drumstick like a little baby, practically talking to the thing, but all of the sudden she snapped to and cried out in disbelief, "SYD BUTLER!"

My head jerks up and I go, "WHAT?"

Sure enough, it was Les Savy Fav's Syd Butler barely a foot away from us talking to some people. Now it's the both of us in shock. We didn't want to walk up and bother him since he seemed like he was with friends, but we had to do something.

"Syd! Syd!!!" we yelled as we waved maniacally. He looked in our direction and waved back with a puzzled smile. The look on his face said that he wasn't expecting to be recognized so he assumed it was someone he knew calling out his name.

As we continued to be carried away by the tide of people going out the door I turned back one last time and cried out, "Syd Butler fucking rules!!!"

He turned back to us and smiled and it looked like he chuckled a bit as if he finally realized that it wasn't anybody he knew but just some crazy kids who really liked Les Savy Fav.

Outside Kelly latched onto Josh, "You're good luck, man. We're sticking with you."

Josh (from DA BRONX, baby. People who live above 125 represent!), had previously met Bloc Party when they played United Palace Theater and now Kelly was certain he was a Bloc Party good luck totem. She was standing next to him when Matt Tong gave her his drumstick, now wasn't she?

After all that had happened, we weren't just going back home. Well, three from the group had dropped out, but the four of us remaining were on a mission. Hell, I was too pumped to just go home and go to sleep at this point. I decided I'd go along to see how far this evening would go.

"This isn't good," Josh said as he paced around a bit. He'd already walked around to find out possible points of exit. "There's just too many exits..."

I declared that this had now seriously turned into some straight up Metal Gear Solid shit.

Anyhow, with some scouting and interviewing of staff we'd decided to camp out at one particular exit. As we did this we ended up walking past Smoosh.

"SMOOSH!!!" we shouted, scaring the poor girls.

"You guys are sooo cute. OMG and so good too!" we kept saying variations of both.

I added in a voice like a proud aunt, "Man...I remember first hearing you kids in college..." I stopped myself before I added, "Now you're all grownsed up!!"

They shyly thanked us as they attempted to load their gear into waiting taxi with the help of a dude that looked like their sound guy, but was way too young to be a dad.

"I think we scared them," Kelly said.

"I think they looked a little surprised we liked them," Josh added.

"What I want to know is, where are their parents??" Monique asked.

We waited a bit more when GORDON emerged. I was kind of going along with the "will we see them or won't we?" mood, but at that moment even I had to admit, "Damn...that's really him."

Josh said hi and Gordon instantly recognized him from before and said, "Hey, you're the guy from the Bronx!"

Gordon seemed bushed, but affably chatted with us, signed tickets/setlists and took pictures. Let me just say. His wife is totally chill. She is SOOO nice. When we tried to get in on a picture Monique asked if she wanted to be in it and she laughed and declined saying, "No, no...let me take it for you guys. I don't need to be in the picture." When she took a picture with Kelly's camera, the flash was off and she handed it back to her saying, "Maybe you want to turn the flash on and I'll take another one. It came out blurry I think."

I was almost verklempt at how cool she was. Here we were badgering her visibly tired husband. They probably wanted to go out and have some alone time after a long tour where she might've not seen him much, yet she was so awesomely gracious to his fans. I wanted to be her best friend right then and there.

While photos were being taken Gordon looked at Kelly and said, "Oh yea, Matt was talking about you." He then asked, "Is that really a proper Polvo shirt?"

As the two walked away we regrouped only to have Monique interrupted us with a, "Hey, aren't those the, um...Tokyo Police Club guys?"

Sure enough, they were crossing the street walking away from us.

"What was the name of the keyboard guy again?" Josh asked.

The four of us started shouting, "GRAHAM! GRAAAHHHAAM!!! You ROCK!"

First, we realized that probably was not the smartest thing to do since they were CROSSING THE STREET, and second we then realized the other guys might've felt like chopped liver at that point. I just wanted to clarify that you guys ALL rock.

Anyway, they came back around with their van and we got to talk to Graham a bit.

THEN we spotted Kele. People. People. Listen. Kele Okereke is the chillest mofo EVER. He seriously is. He actually sustained a conversation rather than brush us off after some autographs or something. He had his friends waiting for him, but the only comment he made regarding that was "Oh, they're gonna be a bit annoyed," and continued to talk with us. We talked about how cute and awesome Smoosh was. And we entreated that Bloc Party must play Bowery again. Just an absolutely lovely man.

I gave him my ticket so he could sign it, but I had it resting on my planner since I took it out of there and was planning on putting it back in. Besides, it was a hard surface to make it easier to sign the ticket. Little did my planner anticipate what was in store for it. After signing my ticket, Kele looked at my planner and said apropos of nothing, "Want me to sign this too?"

I kind of looked at him for a split second. I don't, I really wasn't considering that possibility so I was thinking, "Uh...suuure why not?" I mean it was funny that he asked like I'd actually answer "NO!!!!!" or something, but it was kind of amusing to me also because it's a ratty old day planner. But he gave me a fantastic idea. Since it *is* so old and busted looking I might just start having bands sign the shit out of it.

Anyhow, that was my evening. Sorry it takes up so much real estate, but you know, it was eventful and it was fun. Not much more you can ask for.


Post a Comment

<< Home