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
"There’s a husk to Daughter’s voice tonight, a cracked, bluesy tone that’s marvellously subtle. “I’m, er, feeling, quite nervous,” she says, taking the stage, “this is the biggest gig we’ve ever played”." - Robbie Wojciechowski gets his heart broken watching the wonderful Daughter. [read more]
'Pheonix Nights' was the first thought that sprung to mind upon entering the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. An ancient and broken light-up heart adorned the stage, someone hacked away at a wall cable with a knife and there was garlic bread on the bar (OK, maybe the last one isn’t true, but it’s still a pretty outdated yet intriguing place). [read more]
Release Date: 26/01/09 Label:Â Wichita Bloc Party. For half of you, those two words may have just made you vomit into your own shoe in disgust, whilst simultaneously scrabblingÂ to press the X at the top of the browser with your other available hand, the one that is not handling the said sick-stained footwear of course. The other half will be eagerly waiting to hear what is being said about the band to which they hold dear. Then the other half will be indifferent, and may muster a non-com... [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]