“Hello London…We’re Bloc Party from London England” says Kele Okereke with a cheeky grin. It’s clear as soon as he walks on stage that he is full of confidence.
The front man of one of the most exciting and important indie bands, (in fact bands full stop) of the last decade is tonight here for only one reason, to smash Earls Court.
Okereke, along with band mates Russell Lissack (guitar), Gordon Moakes (bass) and Matt Tong on drums (who interestingly sported only a pair of denim shorts) are back on home soil and rounding off their European tour with their biggest headline show to date.
The atmosphere inside this iconic London (soon to be no-more) venue is one of a grand homecoming and feels entirely appropriate for a band who owes so much to the city for their sound, inspiration and identity.
Set against an impressive backdrop of neon lights and plenty of lasers, they power through a set list, which brilliantly merges old anthems with exciting new material.
Launching into a fierce opening of So He Begins to Lie and Hunting for Witches definitely sets the nights tone and in turn the place on edge.
Real Talk follows, in total they play seven songs off their most recent album Four demonstrating just how proud they are of their new work.
Okereke continues to feed off the crowd in his own unique and playful way. His quip “This is a song about public transport” is met with screams of 7.18! 7.18! And the mock surprise on his face when the crowd reacts to This Modern Love beginning “Oh, you do know it!” is very endearing.
If to this point the atmosphere was building nicely then as the shredding intro to Banquet sounds out Earls Court explodes and with The Prayer following soon after the entire crowd is with them and place is completely wired.
Before it begins Day Four is declared, “A song about healing” and I can only imagine the resonance this song now offers. Having released their last studio album Imtimacy in 2009 Bloc Party almost disappeared. Kele went solo with The Boxer and single hit single Tenderoni and reports of his separation from the band were rife, the future looked bleak but upon reappearing this summer they seem stronger than ever.
“We like surprises and we hope you do to” teases Kele. The surprise in questions comes in the form of swapping guitar for synth as One more Chance, gets everyone moving and almost turns a music gig into a club rave.
A gentler moment then takes hold as Okereke stops strutting across the stage to dedicate Kreuzberg to his parents. The song, which touches upon love, relationships and the confusion of sexuality, is performed beautifully by an artist uncomfortable with sharing his personal life, especially with the media. Due to this the song acts as a touching and poignant insight.
“Did you really think we’d leave you without at least one more? This one’s for my girls!” As suddenly a chorus of Rihanna’s We Found Love takes hold over the crowd which after a bizarre sing along then merges into the all conquering Flux.
As they reappear for their second encore, an outing for new song Rachet is also a welcome surprise and from just one airing it’s clear they haven’t lost any of their old magic with the song reminiscent of debut Silent Alarm.
Helicopter rounds of a remarkable show and as the four take their trumiphant bow at the front of the stage it’s clear just how important Bloc Party are and just how much we need them around. Although delivering one of the best gigs I can remember, they did fail in one department. They definitely didn’t smash Earls Court.
The London boys went one better; they raised it to the ground.