Review: Bloc Party

Koko, 21st June 2012

Band reformations can be a very grey area at the best of times, but hopefully I’m not the only person who looks at Bloc Party as being a ‘reformed’ band very loosely.

For a start, three years isn’t all that long to be away and with each member keeping musically active in the meantime, it’s pretty much flown by. There’s a sense of authenticity behind why this foursome want to keep going and produce new material too, and this rang true through the live unveiling of each new rough-but-ready track.

Introduced onstage by a colourful selection of novelty laser lights, each member approached their instruments coolly and confidently as if they’d never been away from them. Opening with a handful of new songs, any sense of awkwardness or lack of interest from the crowd was abolished through the confident playing and immense range of lighting as an effective accompaniment.

Bloc Party’s influence on such a broad range of music listeners rang true through the demographic in attendance too; from middle-aged men getting half the words right to teen boppers at the front appreciating Kele’s mic-only jives. As he encouraged London to party, London indeed did just that. I can’t remember the last time I saw so much pogo-ing occur – and by older men who blatantly don’t get to too many shows.

As the first few notes of more familiar tracks filled Koko’s airwaves however, the nostalgic energy poured from people’s mouths and the collective remembrance of this band’s once greatness soon returned.

Latter tracks from the discography such as One More Chance and Intimacy’s opener Ares proved to be the most energetically received on the night. The boys did well to make enough room for earlier gems from Silent Alarm as each song flooded the room with emotion and happiness. At this point, boyfriends took the time to soak their sweat into their girlfriends’ hair (yes, really..) and arms were aloft to the sweet, refreshing sound of Banquet, Helicopter, This Modern Love.. – The songs that essentially and justifiably made Bloc Party your favourite band back in the day.

The four men who have represented and defined so much through their music proudly stood arm-in-arm whilst taking a bow before coming back for their first encore of the night. Ending this neatly with a Rihanna-infused version of Flux, they once again returned onstage to the response of the demanding chants.

Ending strongly with Like Eating Glass quite fondly took everybody back to where it pretty much all began for a lot of us – Track one of that incredible album that many disregard the band of ever being able to top.

In one show, Bloc Party managed to encompass everything that they’ve achieved thus far and present to us where they intend to go now. The new material appears to incorporate every sound that each album has so far brought to the table, so it’s difficult to imagine anybody feeling that album number four, cleverly entitled Four will be anything but authentic.

Words: James Uden