On Friday night, Jake took me to see Bloc Party as part of my Christmas present. I’d wanted to see them live for the last five years or so and I was so annoyed I missed them play at my local venue, The Cliffs Pavilion in Southend (in 2009). Having not really heard anything properly since the Intimacy album and only liking half of the tracks on Kele’s solo album The Boxer, I was a little apprehensive about hearing tracks from an album I hadn’t listened to at least once. I certainly wasn’t disappointed though and it was one of, if not the best gig I’ve ever been to!
I’d never been to Earls Court either and that was certainly an experience. It was huge – and so empty when we arrived, it was like an open shell of a warehouse. Capacity inside stands at about 19,000 and it must have been close to a sell-out – particularly given it was a one-off gig and the concluding date of Bloc Party’s European tour. Once the support acts had done their thing, the crowds soon started to pour in and leaving the venue later proved to be a nightmare.
Although the doors opened at 6pm, we didn’t arrive until at least 7:30 and although we missed the first support act: a band called Old Men, we did get to see the following group: The Joy Formidable (link). The trio from North Wales had previously supported acts such as The Temper Trap and The Editors and I guess they fit into the Alternative/Rock genre; their stuff wasn’t as Indie as Bloc’s. For an unheard-of band, I was fairly impressed by them.
Back to Bloc and I’ve managed to locate a copy of their set-list:
Before the gig, Jake and I were listing the songs we were hoping to hear and although there were a few we were unfamiliar with, they played all the classics – and my personal favourites too!
‘So open the door and calm down. Can’t you see that I’m trying?’
I was really pleased that The Prayer was followed by One More Chance and as soon as the keyboard came out, it was fairly obvious that One More Chance was going to be played. It really got the crowd going as well, so it obviously wasn’t just us waiting to hear it!
‘Don’t get offended if I seem absent minded, I get tongue-tied’
The first encore was absolutely brilliant as well and the four songs were all probably in my all-time top 10! It began with Kreuzberg, which Kele dedicated to his parents; Ares and This Modern Love (definitely top three!) followed. Kele then announced: “This oen’s for the girls” and a single verse and chorus of Rihanna’s We Found Love soon merged into Flux – a real crowd pleaser!
‘Are you hoping for a miracle?’
The second encore began with a real treat and surprise – a song called Ratchet, yet to be recorded (I think that was what was said) – and I’m already excited for its release! The show finished with a song that most of us were expecting or hoping to hear: Helicopter. Although some of the people around me had a feeling it’d finish with Two More Years.
The lighting really made the show though, and would be up there with the most spectacular I have seen. While the backdrop displayed the circular logo associated with the fourth album, cleverly titled Four, the lasers throughout created the atmosphere and got everyone jumping around.
Like I said before, leaving was a nightmare! As you can see from the picture, there were ample security guards holding up stop/go signs as well as police patrolling up and down the road. Once we managed to cross, there was a wait to actually enter the station and I can only assume the platform was too crowded as the gates were shut, with more attendants keeping guard. We must have been waiting at least 20 minutes (although it probably seemed longer because I’m so impatient!) but I dread to think how long the people at the back of the queues were waiting.
That didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the night in any way, though and I’m really pleased I can finally tick it off the ‘bands I’m desperate to see’ list. I’ve spent most of today having a Bloc iTunes sess and I need to get my hands on Four asap!