Live: Indie 103's Wreck the Halls at Club Nokia
“Radio shows don’t have to be sucky, they can be quite fun,” quipped Bloc Party’s front man, Kele Okereke, sporting a cheeky grin and a Smiths T-shirt.
Turns out he was preaching to the choir, a nearly sold-out crowd on Wednesday night that gathered for Wreck the Halls, the first Indie 103.1 concert to be held at the shiny new Club Nokia. Having just opened last month with Beck on hand to inaugurate its 2,300-capacity space, Club Nokia once again opened its doors to the indie rock set, playing host to East-side hipsters, vampy rockabilly chicks, young fashion students and casual thirtysomethings eager to witness the eclectic mix of names on the bill. Black Kids, Bloc Party, the Pretenders and CSS took turns utilizing the club’s pristine sound system.
Clearly, station music director Mark Sovel’s Christmas wishes were answered. In a quick chat before the show, Sovel said, “Each of these are bands we’d like to do an entire show around, so having them all on the same lineup was amazing, and getting the Pretenders was miraculous.”
Promptly at 7 p.m., the Black Kids opened with a chummy set that included “I Wanna Be Your Limousine” and the disco-synth-inspired “Listen to Your Body Tonight,” with sassy and spirited vocals by Ali Youngblood, sister of lead singer Reggie Youngblood. The Black Kids might be over-hyped, but there's no denying they made a spot-on opening act.
Bloc Party raised the energy level another notch, blistering through material off their new album, "Intimacy," such as “Mercury,” featuring percussion pyrotechnics from freshly shirtless drummer Matt Tong. “Flux” and "Helicopter" hit the sweet spot with the audience, and soon thereafter the Brits relinquished the stage to Chrissie Hynde and company. Wearing jeans, a tailed tuxedo jacket and an eight-ball emblazoned T-shirt, Hynde was jocular with the audience. She joked about reasons why NOT to get on Willie Nelson’s tour bus (we believe you, Chrissie, no further explanation needed). Opening with the rockabilly stunner “Boots of Chinese Plastic” from their two-month-old album "Break Up the Concrete," they then slid into Pretenders classics "Don’t Get Me Wrong," "Talk of the Town" and "Brass in Pocket." Original drummer Martin Chambers kept the foursome tight, and Chrissie’s voice was rock-steady and flawless.
As Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) took over, it was an obvious "one of these things is not like the other" moment, as lead singer Lovefoxxx (which is, shockingly, a stage name) came out in a black and white neo-tribal unitard and feather headdress. Most people stuck around to check out the charming eccentricity of Cansei de Ser Sexy, which literally translates from Portuguese as “tired of being sexy.” The Brazilian electro-indie outfit rocked a still-sizable audience with “Jagger Yoga,” and Lovefoxxx, already sweaty even without her headdress, shouted out what many were thinking: “Welcome to the aftershow!”
-- Ramie Becker
Photos of Okereke, Hynde and Lovefoxxx by Marvin G.