“We’d love it if more festivals were like this – all small and lively” commented Matt Tong of Bloc Party mid Saturday afternoon before their sensational headlining set at Hydro Connect 2008. It had been threatening to rain all afternoon, but thankfully it held off long enough for us to have a quick chat with Kele and Matt from the band.
Already pressed for time and running late, the lads didn’t stick around for long, but enough for us to get two quick questions in, which in hindsight weren’t exactly the most insightful we could have asked, but still. Kele was in a jokey mood – when we mentioned their set at Reading the previous weekend and asked if it was a homecoming for him and Russell (they met at Reading ’99) Kele gave us a heart-in-the-mouth moment as he goes “Oh, I never went to Reading… it was just a joke I told people to like us more!”, before conceding that he actually did meet Russell at Reading. Matt on the other hand commented that it was a homecoming of sorts for him – whilst he didn’t meet Kele and Russell at Reading ’99, he spent his summer shuffling paper around offices in Reading.
Having been exceptionally excited about their new album, Intimacy (reviewed here), we were hoping for a set heavy with the new songs. However, whilst we only got two new songs, their set didn’t fail to disappoint and they certainly silenced any critics who said that they weren’t ready to be headliners.
Playing 16 songs over 75 minutes, Kele seemed remarkably chatty compared to when I last saw them and other gigs I’ve seen on TV etc. From their opener Mercury’s chant of “My mercury’s in retrograde” to “Positive Tension”‘s yell of “so f***ing useless”, we knew that both crowd and band were happy to work as one, and made for a magical closing to Saturday.
Still enjoying the gorgeous settings, Kele thanked “our favourite elephant polo playing duke” for asking them to play personally. Hydro Connect marked the last time Daniel Lindegren would be standing in for bassist Gordon Moakes, and Kele took the opportunity to dedicate “So Here We Are” to him “as long as you don’t cock it up!” he joked.
“One Month Off” was the only other new song they played all evening, the disco stomp fitting right in with all their older work perfectly.
“Ah, I meant to say, did you like my kilt?” Kele asked the crowd in reference to his tartan red kilt. “The question is: what am I wearing underneath?! It let’s more air in, if you know what I mean!” he joked shortly before the first song of the encore, “Blue Light”. “Flux” heated things back up again as their green laser was cracked out, making the Scottish rain look beautiful for once as the laser hit the castle and trees.
Coming back one last time, they burst into “She’s hearing Voices” as Kele dives into the crowd chanting “Red pill, blue pill / Red pill, blue pill/ Milk of amnesia”, leaving the security unsure of quite what to do and ensuring they went down as one of the best headliners of the festival.
After the jump: setlist and bigger photos
Hunting for Witches
Waiting for the 7:18
Song for Clay (disappear here)
Two More Years
One Month Off
So Here We Are
Like Eating Glass
She’s Hearing Voices