Having already completed 20 dates in the US, Japan and Europe this year, this was the final date of the European leg of the tour before Bloc Party embark on a 14 date tour of Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific. The gig was their largest UK performance to date (aside from any festivals), playing at the 19,000 capacity Earl’s Court One venue. Support for the gig was provided by Old Men and The Joy Formidable.
Kicking off to a backdrop of lasers and a huge halogen logo from their latest album, Four, the band threw themselves into the first 13 track first set with a frantic version of ‘And So He Begins To Lie’, immediately followed by the ever popular ‘Hunting For Witches’. Frontman Kele Okereke was on top form, bantering with the attentive audience and introducing each track by relaying the sentiment behind it, including ‘Waiting for the 7.18’ which he described as being “about public transport”, prompting a huge cheer from the crowd. This was followed up by a fantastically tight performance of both ‘Song For Clay (Disappear Here)’ and ‘Banquet’, to the obvious glee of the crowd who sang and jumped around like their lives depended on it.
The band performed an impressive array of tracks from all four of their studio albums, with selected songs being performed in a frenzy of lazers and strobes. The end of the first set was marked with “something different” in the shape of ‘One More Chance’, and ‘Octopus’. The band then disappeared without a word, to the bemusement of the audience, before reappearing a few minutes later to open the 4 track “Round Two” with ‘Kreuzberg’, which Okereke dedicated to his parents. Finishing the set with an absolutely blistering version of ‘Flux’ (preceded by the intro to Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’), the band once again disappeared.
The first track of the encore was a new one, ‘Ratchet’, which Okereke confirmed had not even yet been recorded, and had only been aired live for the first time in Missouri on the US leg of January 2013’s tour dates. The track itself has the unmistakeable Bloc Party sound, and features an interesting pitch-bending guitar riff, which the crowd eagerly embraced. The following track, ‘Truth’, had been the subject of an email to their mailing list a few days beforehand, where the band encouraged the crowd to download an app to their iPhones and film footage of the track being performed, and this footage would be collected via the app and a video made from the best bits. Okereke seemed a bit uncertain about this concept, but nevertheless asked the crowd to record the track as it was being performed. The final track of the night, ‘Helicopter’, was performed amid an array of lasers to the partying crowd, before the band took their final bows and left the stage.
Although the venue was not sold out it did not deter the band, who performed a great mix of old favourites and new material, and at least this gave the crowd more room to dance. The gig did perhaps suffer slightly at times in terms of atmosphere due to the size of the venue, but overall the band and crowd had a good rapport. Once again the band showed off their great musicianship, and the tightness of the band really shone through.