The Bloc Party returns to form at Ally Pally – REVIEW | Music | Entertainment

This one came out a month ago after an uncertain six-year hiatus, during which they changed up their rhythm section with a new drummer and bassist. The crowd was less familiar with these new songs, resulting in an unusually subdued start.

They then upped the ante with ‘Hunting for Witches’ from their popular second album ‘A Weekend In the City’, igniting the energy in the Great Hall.

Established favorites in the form of “Waiting For the 7:18” which yearns for escapism, and “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” really resonate with the crowd.

These classic songs cement the band’s position as one of Britain’s most enigmatic and original alternative rock bands, and their new songs finally seem to affirm that position.

The themes of dominance and aggression running through “Alpha Games” suggest a hostile mentality towards the current world situation – it seems the band, and lead singer Kele Okereke in particular, have an ax to grind.

As Kele described in a recent NME interview: “It’s a dark time in this country and I hope that will change, but I don’t see how. I don’t think the Guardians want that to change.

In an aside to the crowd ahead of the new song ‘Traps’, Kele says in a combative tone “It’s a song for anyone who feels unhappy or angry with the way things are”.

A superb rendition of ‘Biko’ from the 2009 album ‘Intimacy’ is a welcome change from the fast-paced setlist.

The fragility of the lyrics “Biko, toughen up / This world is not kind to small things” sounds like a powerful lament of a ruthless world.

A wave of anticipation is building for ‘Flux’ in the encore with its exhilarating light show, with the crowd screaming at every word.

Closing in, “She’s Hearing Voices” ends the set with the distinctive ferocity that defined Bloc Party on its return to fame.

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