LIVE: Bloc Party @ 02 Academy, Birmingham 13.07.19

Review and Images by Jonathan Taylor

Instagram: @jonathantaylorphotography 

To celebrate the release of their seminal debut album ‘Silent Alarm’ which was released in 2005, and reached number 3 in the UK album charts, Bloc Party have taken to the stage for a string of UK dates to play the album in its entirety. Their date at the O2 Academy in Birmingham is the penultimate show on UK soil before the band head over to the US in September to continue the album’s celebrations.

The sold out venue is crammed with fans who are relishing the opportunity to hear some of the debut album tracks that have not had an airing live for many years. As the lights dim the sense of anticipation is rife as the instrumental track ‘Every Time Is The Last Time’ and the crowd erupts as Bloc Party eventually take to the stage. The band lit by only one side projecting spot light open the set with a haunting rendition of the final track on the album ‘Compliments’, which is then followed by the subdued track ‘Plans’.

The tempo and energy levels increase as Bloc Party break into the album’s 11th track, ‘Luno’. After which, full of smiles, front man Kele Okereke, tells the crowd that Birmingham has always been a special place for the band to perform which is met with a wave of jubilant applause and cheers. “We are Bloc Party and we are here to make you happy”, jokes Kele and the band continue the set with the beautifully melodic offering ‘So Here We Are’, which was the first single released from the album. The velocity increases with a rendition of the punk inspired ‘Price of Gasoline’, followed by another single release off the album ‘The Pioneers’.

The set continues with album tracks, ‘This Modern Love’, ‘She’s Hearing Voices’ and ‘Blue Light’. During the proceedings, cannons launch ticker tape into the air and the crowd is showered in scattering of beautiful colour.

The venue erupts into a wave of chaos as fan favourite and arguably the album highlight ‘Banquet’ is performed which has the whole venue submerged in this anthemic masterpiece. ‘Positive tension’ is up next, followed by a fantastic rendition of ‘Helicopter’. The set draws to a close with the first track off the album ‘Like Eating Grass’ which completes the set and sees the album ‘Silent Alarm’ played in its entirety and the Bloc Party leave the stage to the sound of feedback which is drowned out by the eruption of applause and appreciation from the crowd.

The band return to the stage to finish the evening with a selection classics from their back catalogue of albums. The whole venue claps in unison to the opening drum loop of hit ‘Two More years’ which is followed by ‘Little thoughts’ and ‘Hunting For Witches’ taken from the bands 2007 album ‘A Weekend In The City’. ‘The Prayer’ follows and the venue erupts yet again as the classic ‘Flux’ taken from their 2007 album ‘A Weekend in the City’ lights up the room. The chaotic track ‘The Ratchet’ brings the evening to a close.

It was reported at the beginning of the year that Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke discussed touring their debut album ‘Silent Alarm’ and how they may yet do the same for their second record ‘A Weekend In The City‘ at some stage. Okereke said, he didn’t really compute what it was going to take physically or emotionally.

It was only when the band started rehearsing the songs and playing the album out in its entirety that he started to inhabit the songs and go back to the place that they were when they made the music. This tour has no doubt been a journey of emotional reflection for Bloc Party and without question this will be paralleled by the fans of the band who without question were on board with them equally for this journey of musical reflection and nostalgic story telling.