It is a Sunday night at the Academy and tonight Bloc Party, a band that needs no introduction, will be playing.
The venue slowly fills with an age range between 13 and 30; Bloc Party have captured the hearts and minds of two generations it would appear.
First up is the very funky and smooth sound of Theme Park and there is something warm and light hearted about their performance.
For a large chunk of their set they have three guitars and the way in which they utilise this creates a rich soundscape with loads of minimalistic riffs, grooves and appropriately placed chords.
They make extensive use of vocal harmonies and their lead vocalist has a fine voice with a great register.
The dynamics of each song is impressive and their new song goes down particularly well suggesting they’re only getting better.
By the time Bloc Party are due to take the stage the place is absolutely packed and either a smoke machine or all the sweat is causing a mist in the air.
An eternity seems to pass in these tropic conditions and then the lights go out, a synth begins an ominous, low drone that you feel more than hear before the crowd erupts.
Then a sound like a phaser from star trek firing while a laser light simultaneously shines out into the audience and divides into multiple lasers spreading out – it’s pretty damn cool.
This is all before, Bloc Party strolls out onto the stage in an incredibly cool and casual manner.
The sound is spot on (and loud, really loud), the band performs flawlessly and the lights are in perfect sync with the music, all the ingredients for a great show.
The atmosphere is crazy and the third song, ‘Hunting for Witches’, seals the deal; from this point on the floor is either be a moshpit or bouncing in unison with the groove they flawlessly create.
As an act they have an abundance of presence and confidence on stage, new tracks go into almost thrash like sections and the venue is going crazy, while frontman Kele Okereke stands centre stage still as a statue staring at the audience as if challenging them to impress him.
It’s no surprise that the place erupts into a gigantic moshpit when you have such a heavy, melodic and lively band with attitude to boot.
There are two or three encores and all this jumping about and moshing has everyone exhausted, each time the audience is nearing the limit of physical exertion Kele will say something or they will go into another of their many loved and famous numbers and once again everyone will go for it.
They could’ve played atonal random crap and everyone would’ve still be loving it such is the power of their performance.
Drummer, Matt Tong, hits the drums so hard and keeps such a solid beat with a massive grin on his face contributing massively to the heaviness and power of the sound.
Guitarist Russell Lissack’s distinctly edgy and sharp playing has a very open, clear tone with more of a crunch than an all-out drive that doesn’t mask what he is playing.
This staccato style of playing gives Bloc Party that raw, edgy, disjointed sound in their earlier material.
The interaction between the two guitarists is exceptional and as a whole the band works as one solid unit each contributing their own unique style to the mix from Kele’s unique and powerful vocals to bassist Gordon Moakes tasteful and appropriate basslines.
Block Party are a band that, even if you despise their recorded material, will have you wanting to see them again immediately.
Words: Robin Sapkota
Photos: Kenny McColl