Bloc Party - Southampton Guildhall 17/10/12
I was at Bloc Party's last gig before the hiatus, in Bournemouth on Halloween of 2009. At the time it felt like it was going to be the end for the band, and before closing the set with their first single 'She's Hearing Voices', Kele Okereke exclaimed: "maybe the best way to end is to go back to the start." It all sounded pretty ominous for their future.
The fact that tonight is happening, then, is an extremely pleasant surprise. Talk of recording sessions without the frontman, and then said frontman claiming the comeback record might be the band's last have somehow been replaced with a progressive and brilliant new record Four, and it's those songs which shine tonight.
After a jingly, jangly and largely uninteresting Theme Park set performed to a largely uninterested crowd, an opening trio of 'So He Begins To Lie', 'Mercury' and 'Hunting For Witches' thrust them into a set performed impeccably, and newies 'Octopus' and 'Kettling' are greeted with as much enthusiasm and excitement as 'Flux' and 'Helicopter'. It's a testament to what Bloc Party have managed with Four.
A largely muted response to third record Intimacy teamed with a three-year break makes the feat all the more remarkable, and as has been shown by the reunions of At The Drive-In and Refused this summer, bands taking breaks sees their popularity, and demand for comeback gigs somewhat inexplicably soar. The Southampton Guildhall seems to be confining and restricting Bloc Party tonight, then, and the twenty-odd songs tonight are thrown out almost in second gear, like they're a band that know they're capable of more.
An Earls Court date has already been announced for 2013, so although this Academy tour they're currently on is excitingly intimate for the fans, it feels like the band are just waiting for the bigger venues and festival headline slots to arrive. The conviction with which their 90-minute set tonight was rolled out tonight suggests that such rooms are waiting for them with arms outstretched.
Purchase and listen
"I am currently writing this review on a coach back to Brighton from Manchester that left at midnight. It's now quarter past 7, I've hardly slept and I need a coffee more than Ian Brown needs a mansion. Last night in Manchester, as a result, is and always will be a blur, but one of vivid and very positive colours." [read more]
Release Date: 9th August Starting out with what sounds like the demo everyone would pretend to play on the school keyboards, âOne more chanceâ is Bloc Party but not as we know it. Keeping to a similar theme as their latest album âIntimacyâ the band has decided to stick with Keleâs long drawn out vocal style over heavy riffs and gritty base lines. As mentioned before the initial piano riff does make things seem a little 80âs at times, a feature which is not helped by a fairly ... [read more]
Label: Unsigned Release date: 03/05/10 Website: http://www.myspace.com/brightsparkdestroyer I saw Bright Spark Destroyer playing one of their first gigs supporting A Genuine Freakshow in Londonâs Bush Hall in February. Despite them being so new to the scene, they had a busy following and proceeded to play 30 minutes of experimental but endearing indie-pop that won over their crowd, even those who were not friends. In fact, it felt like they were your friends, such were the pleasantries... [read more]
Label: Wichita Release Date: Download Now/CD 27/10/08 Link: www.myspace.com/blocparty Since the shock release of âIn Rainbowsâ a little under 12 months ago, every band or artist who suddenly makes their latest record available online with little to no prior notice is dubbed as âdoing a Radioheadâ. And thus Bloc Party, who put their third album on the World Wide Web a couple of days before their return to the Reading and Leeds festivals, have been branded in much the same way. Of co... [read more]