On Thursday we went to see my favourite band of all time, Bloc Party, play at the Royal Festival Hall in Melbourne. Bloc Party announced an indefinite hiatus in 2009, which many fans, including myself, feared was actually a permanent break up. During their break many of the band members did side projects, and I was lucky enough to see frontman Kele play a gig in Brixton about a year and a half ago. However I truly thought I would never see my favourite band play together again.
About a year ago though I heard an interview with Kele on BBC Radio1 that confirmed the band were getting back together. So happy! They played a small show in London last fall that I wasn't able to get tickets to, and then their second show was scheduled in February, which was when we were already in Australia. Disappointed again... However I got some good news when we arrived in Melbourne. Bloc Party were playing at the Future Music Festival last weekend, and also headlining their own show later that week. I love a music festival, but if I want to see a band I really love it's much better going to see them at their own show, as they play a lot longer and the crowd is all their fans etc.
Ok, so here are my thoughts on the venue and the show. Royal Festival Hall is a good venue actually, not too big and the sound was good. We had floor tickets - there is no way I would get seats for something like this - how boring! One big downfall - you can't drink (alcohol) on the floor or in the seats! You have to get a wristband to go to a special licensed area and you can only have your drink in that area. Which is like a basement, and so you can't see or even really hear the stage from there. Weird! The supporting band, World's End Press, sounded really good when we went in. Apparently they have also been touring with Hot Chip, who are another band I really like. Anyway, we had a drink in the basement instead of watching them so I can't really tell you what they were like. Drinks were expensive but pretty much in line with drinking in Melbourne. I had a G&T for $9 and it was served in a can which made me laugh. I think Andy's beer was $6, so pretty much normal gig prices.
Ok so on to Bloc Party. Now, I absolutely love them so my judgement is slightly clouded. However I do not love all the songs on their new album, Four. The album has some pretty heavy rock songs on it, like "Kettling" and "We Are Not Good People" which they thankfully did not play. There are a few good tunes on the new album, such as "Truth"and "V.A.L.I.S." but in my opinion Silent Alarm and Weekend in the City are still far superior albums to anything they have done after. They played quite a few songs from these albums that the crowd got really into, like "Positive Tension", "Banquet", "Hunting for Witches" and closing with the classic "Helicopter". Not much of the dance/electro crossovers at the gig, except for "One More Chance" and also they covered a bit of Rhianna's "We Found Love" before the song "Flux". I really enjoyed those but I'm not sure this was the right crowd for that. A nice surprise was they played "Blue Light" which is one of my favourites from Silent Alarm that they don't often play at gigs anymore. We also got to hear a new, unrecorded song called "Ratchet"which we both liked and makes me excited for what's to come. And lastly, they played our wedding song "This Modern Love" which was a huge hit with the crowd as well as us! mrwandymcnoble made a short recorded of it which I'm disappointed wasn't longer but to be fair he just wanted to enjoy the song and not film the whole thing!
Overall it was a fantastic night. The band is super tight, drummer Matt Tong is incredible to watch, Kele is still a bit awkward but endearing when engaging with the audience, the light show was pretty amazing and fit well with the music, a good setlist overall and a good crowd. 5 stars (out of 5) from me!