Monday 8 July 2024

Live Review: Bloc Party - Crystal Palace London, 7 July 2024

Celebrating 20 years as one of the UK's most iconic indie stalwarts, Bloc Party last night played a seminal show to London's Crystal Palace - a fitting nod to their success as it marked their biggest, sold out I might add, headline show to date with a 25,000 strong crowd.

With support from Connie Constance, The Mysterines, Friendly Fires and The Hives, fans were treated to a collective build-up of the finest names in the business who suitably got things heated in time for the band’s arrival.

Having also sold out their last celebratory tour for Silent Alarm’s 20th anniversary, many missed out on tickets, so what better way than to make it up to fans than a one-off dedicatory party held in south London’s Crystal Palace. “We've been having so much fun playing shows over the past year, so it makes sense to do something special for old and new fans" said Kele in the lead up to the show. "We heard from a lot of people that they couldn't get tickets for the Silent Alarm gigs, so a one-off summer party playing that and the bangers feels like the right thing to do." And they certainly rolled them out as the set-list proved to be crafted with fun in mind. 

Despite their roller-coaster career spanning over the past 2 decades with sudden changes in line-up and contrasting stylistics throughout their catalogue, the band have rode the wave with a profound assiduity and tonight proved to be the answer to just why they've stood the test of time. 

The venue itself, with its historic grandeur, provided a fitting backdrop for their dynamic set. The combination of the architectural elegance of Crystal Palace and the raw, electrifying sound of Bloc Party created an unforgettable atmosphere. With its almost Amphitheatre feel with enclosed walls and fans spilling out on to the overlooking terraces, the acoustics proved to be exceptional, allowing every riff and beat to resonate with clarity and power. Just as the band intended.

Kele Okereke's distinctive vocals were a highlight, effortlessly shifting from the poignant introspection opener of "So Here We Are" to the commanding "Like Eating Glass". His stage presence magnetic, drawing the audience into each song's emotional core. 

Elsewhere guitarist Russell Lissack's intricate melodies and effects-laden solos added depth and texture, enhancing the band's signature sound whilst Louise Bartle kept things in check with her pin point percussive accuracy. 

Despite being touted as a Silent Alarm performance the evening unfolded with a mixture of tracks thrown amongst their debut classics, including new single Flirting Again which pulsated from the speaker stacks with its full force of convulsing basslines and catchy lyrics. There's a big presence from A Weekend in the City too, the band's second studio album released in 2007 with "Song for Clay (Disappear Here)", "Hunting for Witches", "The Prayer", "Flux" and "I Still Remember" all getting airplay. Arguably this record might have been just as influential as their debut LP and certainly felt as nostalgic as fans ignited in fervent dancing and orchestrated sing-alongs, front to back.

Sadly all good things must come to an end though, but fans weren't about to be left empty handed. Returning to the stage for a 7 track encore, peppered with deep cuts including "Skeleton", which recently saw its re-release on Spotify for the first time, alongside the younger generations fan-favourite "Ratchet", the band bowed out with an unforgeable performance.

As Kele ran over to hug the sign language performers and rugby tackled his much loved sound tech, there's no denying this will be a night he'll never forget. And one us fans will hold dearly as we relished in a journey through the times. Here's a raised glass to the next celebratory milestone.

Bloc Party Played
So Here We Are
Like Eating Glass
Hunting for Witches
Flirting Again
Price of Gasoline
Blue Light
Song for Clay (Disappear Here)
Different Drugs
One More Chance
I Still Remember
Positive Tension
The Prayer

Two More Years
She’s Hearing Voices
This Modern Love


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