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BLOC PARTY

★★★★

RELAXED AND POWERFUL

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By James Cerche
15th March 2013

Hotly anticipated after the release of last year’s album ‘Four’, Bloc Party finally returned to our shores in earnest, following the brief flirtation that was an appearance as one of last year’s headliners at Splendour in the Grass. This time, they delve heavily into their new record during a twenty song set list that demonstrated what almost a decade’s worth of genre-defining indie pop can sound like.

Emerging at 9:15pm and looking relaxed and ready, the band commenced proceedings with ‘Four’ opener; ‘So He Begins To Lie,’ following with ‘Trojan Horse’ from 2008’s electro-conscious ‘Intimacy’. These were delivered with focus and power to an initially reserved audience, serving as the prelude to an energetic set that kicked off in earnest when the dance-inspiring thump of live favourite ‘Hunting For Witches’ kicked into gear. Without pausing for breath, the band treated us to a superb rendition of bass driven ‘Positive Tension’, which was the first of many tracks to be aired from the hugely successful breakthrough record, ‘Silent Alarm’ (2004). These older favourites were received with relish and the new cuts welcomed with eager fervour, to the delight of the band. Our enthusiasm matched regularly by one of the most charming smiles in music today; frontman Kele Okereke clearly adores the life he had made for himself and is every bit the charming and consummate showman. He held court over the crowd, prompting sing-alongs and simultaneously scolding or praising our reactions to keep the party going if the audience appeared to tire.

BLOC PARTY - TRUTH

Dipping regularly into each album, the band served up an eclectic palate of sounds that was really everything a modern rock show should be. Beneath a stunning laser light show, Bloc Party traversed a heady synergy of pop and hard rock infused with more than a few electronic sensibilities to ensure a constantly shifting set that catered for all manner of tastes. Crunching metal riffs (‘Coliseum’) rubbed shoulders with rave tunes (‘Flux’) and heartfelt balladry (‘Blue Light’), often within the same song. Kele even rapped at one point on a brand new and unreleased number called ‘Ratchet’ that he said the band was “all very proud of”.

My one gripe with the evening lay not with the band’s performance or songwriting, as both were sensational. Having seen the band six months ago and detecting the same problems, I can comfortably suggest that Bloc Party need to find a new sound tech - the mixing all night just wasn’t up to par. Key riffs and a number of essential backing vocal lines were left underrepresented by poor mixing and an idiotic choice of levels. Someone really needs to deal with it because one of the best riffs of the last decade (‘Hunting For Witches’) sounded underwhelming when it should have been side-splitting. That said, Kele’s voice was in outstanding form, jumping from muscular and commanding to delicate and vulnerable at a moment’s notice. None more so than during set (and personal) highlight, ‘Real Talk’.

The band served up an eclectic palate of sounds.

Bloc Party offered a strong, crowd-pleasing set that recommends them as a solid live act, in support of a prestigious catalogue that any music fan should endeavour to work through. If guitar pop, charm and an ability to write songs that speak to and of the modern zeitgeist sound like your thing, then you need look no further.

FAST FACTS
BAND: Bloc Party
MEMBERS: Kele Okereke
Russell Lissack
Gordon Moakes
Matt Tong
FORMED: 2003
FROM: London
SOUND: Indie Rock
WEBSITE: Www.blocparty.com
TWITTER: @BlocParty
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