Review by David Stone with Photography by Jessica Stone

Ten thousand early ‘00s indie kids rocked up to Ally Pally on 24th October to catch Bloc Party perform their critically acclaimed debut album Silent Alarm in full!

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The four-piece stopped off in London to finish their six-date tour of Europe, backed by Australian indie-rockers Middle Kids. But with a line-up featuring only 2 of the 4 members that released the album, could they do it justice?

When you look at it, 2005 was a special time for alt/indie-rock lovers. The White Stripes released their heavily-anticipated fifth album Get Behind Me Satan, Maximo Park, Hard-Fi, The Subways and the Kaiser Chiefs released their amazing debut LPs and towards the end of the year, The Strokes started releasing tracks and playing shows to promote their follow-up to Room on Fire, First Impressions of Earth.

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That’s not to mention the rest of the genre’s landscape – fresh music from now-classic bands like Feeder, Stereophonics, Weezer, Spoon and others made for an absolutely stacked year… making it all the more impressive that Bloc Party’s debut, the feature-album of this show, won NME’s Album of the Year.

Thirteen years later, we find ourselves rolling into Alexandra Palace fresh off a four-hour battle to get to the venue through London’s awful rush-hour traffic. It’s around half-eight on a cool autumn evening, and the venue’s already heaving with a massive queue of eager folks still snaking around the building to get in.

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Squeezing our way through the festival-styled entrance hall and into the venue proper, we were greeted by stacks of fans enjoying the latter end of Middle Kids’ set. Despite only catching the last couple of tracks, the trio’s set filled the dancefloor both musically and literally, and came across as a band well-worth checking out.

Half an hour later, the lights dipped and the headliners strolled out in front of a giant version of the Silent Alarm album cover, split across five huge curtains at the back of the stage, and got straight down to business.

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Compliments opened the set, followed by Plans and Luno. The last three tracks on the album were the first on the night – setting the scene as frontman Kele Okereke led us on a journey both back to 2005 and backwards through the album’s original track listing.

His presence is commanding – standing front and center, belting out lines like a leader rallying a crowd to action, occasionally going as far as actually doing that… none more blatantly than when he hollered “Come on you fuckwits, JUMP!” during Banquet!

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Despite being down two originals, the new crew of Kele, Russell Lissack, Justin Harris and Louise Bartle absolutely smashed their way through the thirteen tracks of the band’s seminal record, providing renditions that were beautifully crafted to stay close to the original whilst taking advantage of their new crew members’ talents to enhance tracks – making particularly great, albeit occasional use of Louise’s backing vocals.

A shower of confetti punctuated This Modern Love, marking the entry to the ‘things get a bit crazy’ part of the set, a six-track run which included Banquet, Helicopter and Positive Tension, all of which got huge reactions from the crowd.

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Wrapping up with Like Eating Glass, the band took a short leave from the stage before returning to run through half a dozen more tracks – mostly beloved oldies like Tulips, Little Thoughts and Two More Years. Ratchet brought us on a brief return to five years ago before we dove back into the 2000s as the band closed the set with Flux.

Not exactly a weekend, but definitely an evening in the city well spent.

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Setlist:
Compliments
Plans
Luno
So Here We Are
Price of Gasoline
The Pioneers
This Modern Love
She’s Hearing Voices
Blue Light
Banquet
Positive Tension
Helicopter
Like Eating Glass

Encore:
Two More Years
The Marshals Are Dead
Little Thoughts
The Prayer
Ratchet
Flux

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