Bloc Party Live review by Ryan Beardsley

‘We’re getting a run of 20 year anniversary tours right now, and apart from reminding me that I’m not 15 anymore, it’s giving us oldies a real treat and offering a new generation the chance to become acquainted with 00s classics, nostalgia will never get old, right?

Now it’s the turn of Bloc Party, and a Sunday afternoon in Crystal Palace is an interesting choice, the fact that it chucked it down for the first part of the day and everyone is hungover from watching England yesterday makes for a subdued atmosphere.

However the sun comes out and here come St Albans funksters Friendly Fires right on cue to get the crowd moving and shaking. It’s an energetic set as expected, the highlight being frontman Ed Macfarlane stopping in the middle of the gig to demand the visuals behind the band be removed as they were too “cheesy”. Other than that it’s a solid set as they reel off the hits but it’s been five years since their last record, time to get in the studio and give us something new please, gents.

After a refreshing bout of rain, Swedish rockers The Hives strut out dressed to the nines led by the incomparable Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist to take their shot at livening up the soggy crowd.

In a set that was as much Almqvist ad libbing to the audience, The Hives put on a wild show mixed with old classics and new material and worked bloody hard to lift the crowd out of their collective funk. Hate To Say I Told You So is still a banger Almqvist is frequently hilarious, at times the set is more like a vehicle for his stand up talents than a rock show, and by the time they finished off with a raucous Tick Tick Boom we finally had an atmosphere!

It’s main event time and here come Bloc Party, kicking off with early single Here We Are and the crowd goes…mild. It’s a curious one to start with but thankfully they follow up with Like Eating Glass and the place comes alive. The song itself feels like a real indie time capsule these days but in a good way, let’s goooo.

Fan favourite Hunting for Witches keeps the pace but after that it’s a stop start setlist, we go from banger to deep track and the show really loses momentum for it.Case in point, Banquet, their biggest anthem has everyone flying and belting out every word, but it’s then followed up by five or so tracks from the later years which kills the crowd at large save for the hardcore fans. Perhaps it’s only right to acknowledge that despite the show being titled 20 years of Bloc Party, the band only ever made one great record and it shows here in a mammoth 30 song setlist.

Frontman Kele Okereke is a magnetic presence, clad in his NHS t shirt, his voice is unwavering for two hours straight but in truth, the show only really comes alive again for the encore. I Still Remember is a beauty and is proceeded by a tribute to the teachers in what is the first heartfelt moment of the show that really resonates.

Helicopter follows and we’re back in the indie disco and for a moment we all forget it’s a manky hungover sunday and remember that made the band so special all those years ago. Highlight of the show is She’s Hearing Voices, dragging South London into a frenzy and this is where the band are in their element, it’s just a shame the mood wasn’t bottled and kept for the whole night.

As they round off with Silent Alarm favourite This Modern Love, a lot of the crowd are already making their way to the station to beat the rush and it kind of sums up the day. All the bands worked hard but the setting and the atmosphere never really took off, but the hardcore Bloc Party fans will have some treasured memories.’

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