Bloc Party in Auckland

Last updated 00:00 09/08/2007
ON FIRE: Bloc Party proved why they're one of Britain's biggest musical exports during their Auckland show.

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Something glorious happened when Bloc Party played at Telstraclear Stadium in Auckland. Reviewer Chris Schulz was there.

The British dance-rock act thrilled a near sell-out crowd at Auckland's Telstraclear Stadium with a set that proved exactly why they're one of England's most hyped exports.

It was Bloc Party's first visit to New Zealand, and they played like they had a very firm point to prove.

Opening with Song For Clay (Disappear Here) - the first track from their acclaimed second album A Weekend in the City - Okereke quickly won the crowd over with his exaggerated on-stage antics.

He may look more like an art-school student than the front man of a great rock band, but Okereke has a great voice that veers between crooning balladeer and fired-up punk rocker - often in the space of a single verse.

It lit up the band's music, which is powered by drummer Matt Tong's metronomic hitting of the skins, Gordon Moakes' rumbling bass and Russell Lissack's pinpoint - and, yes, angular - guitars.

But the focus is on Okereke and his heavily-themed songs that question sexuality, British culture and modern life in London. Despite the weighty subject matter, there's a distinct effort to create songs to dance to.

That proved to be the case, as Bloc Party blasted through party-starting tracks Hunting For Witches, I Still Remember and Like Eating Glass that had fans up on their feet and shaking it like they were attending a late '90s rave.

The spectacular light show made up for the lack of glow sticks, as seizure-inducing strobes and orange bulbs lit the band up perfectly in time with the music.

The 80-minute set didn't even lose momentum when Okereke pulled a Gwen Stefani and ran into the crowd, causing chaos with stage managers as they followed him with the microphone's wires.

Time to invest in a wireless mic, ay?

There were several absolutely magic moments in a set full of them: the set-closing version of Helicopter, a stunning version of The Prayer complete with chest-hurting bass blasts, and an ear-piercing rendition of Banquet, which ended with Okereke screaming "I'm on fire".

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