he Flaming Lips close Festival No.6, Portmeirion, Wales, UK on Sunday 10th September, 2017 With summer feeling like a distant memory, and a more autumnal feel, my penultimate festival of the summer (and the year) finds me back at Portmeirion for the sixth Festival No.6, and my fifth visit to this beautiful spot in North Wales for one of my favourite festivals.


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NME Awards Tour 2016: Bloc Party The final night of the NME Awards Tour 2016 brings the unlikely combination of Bloc Party, Drenge, Rat Boy and Bugzy Malone to Birmingham’s O2 Academy. Up first is Bugzy Malone, playing to an audience that is still in its lag phase of growth and which gives a dismal response to the ubiquitous command of “Make some noise.” Unfortunately for Bugzy Malone, Birmingham’s NME fans are not his target audience.


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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.


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Bloc Party The band walk on stage: Matt wearing nothing but denim shorts, Russell in a bright yellow t-shirt, Gordon in his trademark black, whilst Kele looks as though he has just arrived from lounging around on a sofa all day, dressed in a Public Enemy t-shirt and Adidas shorts. They burst into a fast-paced and somewhat monotonous version of recent single Octopus; the result being much dancing, but little singing along from the crowd. Indeed, throughout the evening, the more technically challenging songs from Four are played at increased speed, ending up with breathless and curt vocals from Kele.


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Kele Kicking off with ‘Walk Tall’. The clap along drum beat and Kele’s crystal clear vocal in no way prepares you for the sub-bass onslaught about to be delivered. It’s the type of synthesised electric bass line that makes you feel as though you’ve swallowed a rabbit at some time in your life. And Kele’s here to replace the batteries. ‘On The Lam’ delivers the second wave bass assault of the evening. Mixing up a smattering of House, Ground shaking Dub and Dirty Drum Breaks. As far as euphoric hands in the air music goes the whole set will take some beating. If Bloc Party were the subject of a technological science class, I’d imagine the results to be very similar to the direction Kele’s now taking his band and his sound.


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Bloc Party Whilst sitting in The Goose, the anticipation of seeing my favourite band was finally hitting me and I was pondering what to expect from tonight’s gig, and taking bets as to if they will play “Price of Gas” as well as my wife telling me how much she longed to hear “So Here We Are”...


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