As the lights dimmed we were greeted not by the recently-reunited Bloc Party but by a superb laser display, rotating hipster triangles and all. The coloured circles on the cover of the band’s comeback album Four were blown up to psychedelic proportions, entrancing the revellers, who almost failed to notice when the four-piece actually took to the stage. With a complete lack of acknowledgment towards the crowd, which surely can only come with knowing that every single person in the room is gagging to hear you, they opened immediately with new track "3 x 3". It’s insanely heavy chorus soon made up for the fact that you really couldn’t connect with the song yet, engaging the eager crowd to surge forward in frenzy. However, the first half of the set was marred with a sense that some of the newer songs were either not up to scratch or the band had misjudged which ones would go down well live. Even the choice to play "Trojan Horse" as their first already-released song, wasn’t greeted especially well, although the simplified, stripped down guitar version of “Waiting for the 7:18” was fantastic.
It took wheeling out first hit "Banquet" for it to feel like Bloc Party really were back with a vengeance; even the new songs just seemed to get better after it. After Kele Okereke claimed that it was his favourite off the new album, "Team A" did indeed show some serious potential. Dressed in a simple buttoned shirt and what can only be described as PE shorts, Kele seemed in complete control of the crowd and band, as they closed the set with a brilliant rendition of their keyboard-heavy standalone single "One More Chance", flowing epically, feedback and all, into the ever-so-popular "Helicopter".
It was the encore, though, that really stands out as the high point of the gig. Playing just one short, new ditty beforehand, the band really got the cups of piss flying with Intimacy opener "Ares". However the highlight of the night certainly must go to "This Modern Love". Perhaps we were all so knackered that the chance to stare in wonderment at the surreal laser displays, while the emotion of the song really overtook you, was just too perfect. Announcing the next would be their last song resulted in actual booing from the crowd. These were quelled immediately as he began a cheeky attempt at Rhianna’s "We Found Love" straight into the fan favourite dance anthem "Flux".
For their second gig in three years, you really couldn’t tell that Bloc Party had been gone that long. As for Four, it will certainly be a dark affair, and yes some of the songs were a wee bit iffy on first listen; "Real Talk" sounding more like Kings of Leon than what we really want to hear. Nonetheless, there was some seriously heavy potential, and we can be certain that harcore fans will lap it up regardless. The band have lost none of that raw energy, drummer Matt Tong holding the whole affair together with unrivalled skill, and the only major difference that seems to have occurred during their hiatus period, is that guitarist Russell is looking a lot less emo-tastic in the hair department than four years ago.
- Headline photo: Kavita41