Gig Review and Photography by Jeremy Carron

Bloc Party

Bloc Party are back! Following a two year hiatus and a line-up change, Bloc Party are now comprised of original members Kele Okereke on lead vocals/rhythm guitar and Russell Lissack on lead guitar as always, but now with the addition of Louise Bartle on drums and Justin Harris on bass. With anticipation for Bloc Party’s fifth album, “Hymns”, at an all-time high following the release of lead single “The Love Within”, the band are here tonight at the Church of St John at Hackney, for the final intimate show of their European tour.

The night at the sold out venue began with support from Steve, a one-woman army, brilliantly layering synthesised beats on top of one another single-handedly, whilst also singing over the high-octane fuelled tunes. “Emergency Art Rate” was a great example of this and by the end of her set; she had left the crowd pumped and ready for Bloc Party to take the stage. For more information on Steve, head to record label Snug Platters’s Facebook page.

Bloc Party

Bloc Party were soon out on stage to the cheers of their long awaiting fans, diving straight in with new track “Eden”. Re-introducing themselves with a different vibe in comparison to their other work, it’s clear the band mean business!  After the song, Kele declares “Let us get this party started”, before performing old favourite “Hunting For Witches”, much to the delight of the fans!

Bloc Party

For anyone in the crowd who had any doubts about the band’s new line-up, it soon becomes apparent there was nothing to worry about at all, new members Louise and Justin sound terrific! Each leaving their own impression on the band, with Justin sounding great on bass and Louise’s drumming completely on point. Combined with the exceptional sound of Kele and Russell, Bloc Party are sounding better than ever!

Bloc Party

Next up was a seamless transition into “Positive Tension”, followed by new songs “Virtue” and “The Good News” – a track combining blues elements with moody undertones, the crowd seem to really enjoy the new material Bloc Party have to offer. It’s soon back to the fan favourites though, when the familiar opening riff of “Song for Clay” kicks in, to Kele shouting “Show us what you got!” The crowd are soon jumping and singing along!

Bloc Party

Another seamless transition followed, leading on into “Banquet”. Once again, everyone was jumping along as Kele conducted the crowd to jump! There was a short breather afterwards, when Kele asked “London, how you doin’?!” The crowd’s cheers gave him their answer! A quick drinks request from Kele, claiming “It is Friday after all!” preceded “One More Chance”.

Bloc Party

“Different Drugs” was up next, followed by “Octopus”, with its high energy rock ‘n’ roll beat keeping the crowd moving. Kele had to apologise after the song when he exclaimed how he was having so much fun during that last song that his waist belt exploded! Dejectedly saying “I guess it’s time to start laying off the pies…” Any sadness about overindulgence in pies was soon forgotten however, when the band performed “So He Begins To Lie”. With its catchy guitar riff and infectious chorus, it was another beat that had the fans moving on their feet. The band made sure the fans knew this was their last show of the European tour, before Kele asked the crowd “do we have any fight left inside of us London?” The crowd’s response was evident during the next song, “Ratchet”. The set slowed down afterwards, when new track “Exes” was performed.

Bloc Party

The band announced their main set was nearly at an end, but stated for their last track that “luckily, we have a little rock left in our pocket”, before flowing in to fan favourite “Flux”. The sound of everyone singing along to the chorus filled the venue and it wasn’t long until everyone had their hands in the air clapping along too!

Bloc Party

Bloc Party left the stage afterwards for a brief break, before returning to the cheers of their fans! Kele looked disappointed however, as he announced he had been battling a cold all week and that last song had got the better of him. He requested if everyone could help sing the next song for him and the audience was happy to oblige for next track, “Helicopter”!

Bloc Party

It was back to normal for the final new track of the night, “The Love Within”. Kele apologised afterwards, saying he was sorry once again for his cold, but that hopefully the band would see everyone again soon on their next tour, before performing “This Modern Love”. The band bowed to the crowd, before leaving the stage and as the lights came on with the satisfied fans starting to leave, Bloc Party suddenly returned to the stage and the fans rushed back in!

Bloc Party

Kele said he felt disappointed he wasn’t able to give the show they wanted, so the band were going to do something they’ve never done before, “because this is home!” The band performed a new live rendition of “Signs”, with Kele on the keyboard for the first time during the set. If there were any disappointed fans, it definitely didn’t show by the end of the song! Bloc Party closed their set with “She’s Hearing Voices”, which has to be my personal highlight, as everyone joined in singing along one last time. The Church was filled with the noise of everyone singing “She got a red pill, blue pill…” as the lights surrounding the band turned from red to blue.  An impressive setlist, with enough old favourites to please the loyal fans, whilst also having a fair amount of new material thrown in to establish their new vibe! Kele’s last words on stage pretty much summed up the gig: “That is how you do it!”

Setlist:

Eden / Hunting For Witches / Positive Tension / Virtue / The Good News / Song for Clay (Disappear Here) / Banquet / One More Chance / Different Drugs / Octopus / So He Begins To Lie / Ratchet / Exes / Flux

First Encore:

Helicopter / The Love Within / This Modern Love

Second Encore:

Signs / She’s Hearing Voices

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