Kele and co rounded off a short tour for their new album with a homecoming of sorts on a drizzly evening in Earls Court.
After a brief hiatus, and the launch of eclectic, almost schizophrenic new album Four, Bloc Party’s return to London showed a slightly older band, but one which had lost little of its fresh sound over the course of a decade.
The crowd, still largely the same indie kids who danced to debut Silent Alarm in 2004, have matured with the band as they plumbed the dark depths of a Weekend in the City and experimented with their electronic side, and as well as showcasing new tracks on Friday, the back catalogue was plundered to fantastic effect.
Earls Court’s huge soon-to-be-demolished hall provided a perfect space for the multitude who swarmed in to see the band, with laser lights reminiscent of a thousand indie-dance clubnights illuminating the mass of jumping, chanting, writhing late twenties revellers.
Opening with He Begins to Lie, Matt Tong’s immaculately tight, terse drumming drove the band through Hunting for Witches and Positive Tension, although in between songs frontman Okereke still seemed a little nervous and lacking in conversation.
It may not seem too inspiring to introduce Waiting for the 7.18 as simply a song about commuting, but that didn’t stop the crowd from swaying with every yearning lyric. Or bouncing into follow up Song for Clay (Disappear Here), the hipster-baiting, self-destructive lyrics of which remain as pertinent as five years ago.
The Prayer came up, as anthemic as always, a provocative cry for help dragging lyrics from the throats of the audience, but was followed by a version of One More Chance that seemed lacklustre at best. Okereke seemed out of time with the band, and even a little out of breath; tired and almost shouting rather than singing the chorus. It was one bum note which reappeared a couple of times throughout the evening, but rarely as prominently as then.
The encore was nectar for the crowd, feeding them a concotion of Kreuzberg, Ares, and This Modern Love, before a singalong from Rihanna’s We Found Love built everyone up to the pure frenzy of Flux.
That was an ending to send everyone home happy, and perhaps it should have. A second encore started with bizarre dub-step influenced rarity Ratchet, which received a bewildered reception, as did Truth, perhaps due to the slight taint of a camera phone campaign gone awry.
However, there was ample reward for those who stuck around, as the set came to a clashing finish with Tong’s rhythms driving the frantic guitars of Russell Lissack as Helicopter brought the night to a close.
There won’t have been many fans leaving disappointed, with so many songs covered in an almost exemplary performance from a band who are still making their mark on the capital’s musical consciousness.