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Bloc Party in Manila: 10 Things We Learned

London legends put on a hell of a show
by Cheekie Albay | Mar 25, 2013
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Hands up if you were at the Bloc Party show last Friday!

The London indie rockers’ first Manila concert, held on March 22 at the World Trade Center, was a nearly-two-hour sonic spectacle that saw vocalist and rhythm guitarist Kele Okereke, lead guitarist Russell Lissack, bassist and keyboardist Gordon Moakes, and drummer Matt Tong thundering through their four-album discography, from their 2005 debut LP Silent Alarm to their latest full-length Four.

That Friday, we were one with all the gathered Pinoy fans at the World Trade Center, at times squealing, at times skittering, and yes, at times even sobbing (no kidding). If you missed it—or if you just want to relive the pants-peeing excitement of that night—read on for 10 observations we walked away with!

Truly, Bloc Party like to party.
Early on, the band wasted no time in letting their agenda known. “Good evening, Manila. We are Bloc Party from London, England… Sorry it’s taken us so long to get here,” Okereke greeted. “But we’re here now, so let's get the party started!”

Throughout the show, Okereke would expound on this proposition some more, periodically prompting concert-goers to dance, egging them on to party, and variations thereof. (Sure enough, the band was spotted hanging at popular BGC club Seventh High post-show.)

Matt Tong is our newest man-crush.
In publicity photos of the band, Tong is the gangly, nerdy Asian in black-rimmed specs and granny sweaters who looks like he couldn’t hurt a fly. But put him behind the drum kit, and he turns into a whirling tornado, capable of devastating anything in his path. Or maybe some sort of mad octopus, with eight arms to go ballistic with. Any way you look at it, he was phenomenal onstage.

Here’s another thing we love about the dude: he walked onstage in nothing but cutoff denim shorts—the kind your girlfriend wears with a bikini at the beach—and stayed topless like that for the entire show. One word: lakas. Mad props to any guy who can put on such an ensemble and still reel in the screams from the ladies.

Bloc Party’s fifth member: those kick-ass lights.
Another thing that drew awe from those in attendance was the fantastic light show, which blasted white and bright at climaxes, sunk to a low glow in times of quiet, and seared sharply through the atmosphere at just the right moments. They kept up with Tong’s frenetic rhythms which, as you may have guessed from our gushing praise of the drummer, was no easy task.

Bloc Party are handy with gadgets.
For “Mercury”—easily one of Bloc Party’s most electronically-aided tunes—Okereke broke out vocal effects to mimic the song’s recorded version, which features looped vocals in the refrain, “Mercury’s in retrograde!” Call us cavemen, but that high-tech shit really blows us away.

NEXT: An old favorite comes to life

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Photos Warren Espejo
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