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You see him just before their second performance. He is schmoozing (or, more likely, being schmoozed) with some leather-jacketed industry folk at the Spin Party at Stubb’s — a huge outdoor venue where the vodka is flowing for free. You catch Russell stumbling around with a perma-grin, and a few minutes later Okereke walks past you, staring off into the distance as though he’s looking for someone. Then he walks past you again. Then, he’s standing next to you, turning in circles and making a big show of scanning the crowd. Finally, you tap him, and he smiles too fast to really seem surprised.
“I thought it was you,” he says. “Did you come to our show last night?”
“No, I couldn’t get in — it was packed.”
“Oh, good. There was a problem with the sound, and it was just awful.”
Grinning goofily and adjusting his backpack, he politely asks you to watch the Futureheads with him, without a sputter in his speech. But when a couple of dudes ask to take a photo and each throw an arm around him to pose, his smile fades and he stares sheepishly at the camera. When it’s Bloc Party’s turn to take the stage, bassist Gordon Moakes handles the intra-song banter, drummer Matt Tong immediately sheds his shirt. They’re rocking as best they can in broad daylight, under the scrutiny of a tough (but moderately drunk) crowd. For the record, they’re not the best band in the world, but the hype isn’t too far off. They’re just a bunch of sweet British kids trading guitar riffs, singing party songs about skirts and solitude, and having an American adventure that they didn’t quite see coming. They’re the rock fantasy that everyone likes to read about. They’re living the dream that you hope won’t ever happen to you.