Bloc Party at The Roundhouse, London, gig review: Arrogance seems to be behind lack of fan favourites

At times it feels as though frontman Kele Okereke and co are only performing what they want to perform - and not what they know the audience want

Vishal Rana
Wednesday 15 February 2017 16:02 GMT
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The Bloc Party frontman's uniquely recognisable voice was sublime throughout
The Bloc Party frontman's uniquely recognisable voice was sublime throughout (Michael Jamison)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Bloc Party are musically, tonally and lyrically up there with the best, but there's something missing from their Friday night gig at The Roundhouse in London.

A heightened sense of arrogance wouldn’t be too far off the truth if fans are looking for something to pin the blame on.

Kele Okereke and co seem to be performing what they want to perform and not what the audience clearly want to hear.

The band understandably has new material to push with Hymns, released last year, so the two opening tracks are “Only He Can Heal Me” and “So Real”. Unfortunately, the crowd seems to be predominantly made up of fans from Bloc Party’s formative years.

Okereke uses the break between second and third track to reintroduce the band at what is essentially their homecoming gig, and make a political statement.

“A lot has gone down in the world since the last time we performed here, in 2007 when we were writing ‘A Weekend in the City’. I had a fear of where things were going, in 2017 we’ve arrived at my fear," he says.

Awkward applause follows, and the band dives straight into their debut track “She’s Hearing Voices” off Silent Alarm and into Intimacy’s “Mercury”.

Crowd favourites “Banquet”, “One More Chance”, “The Prayer” and “Octopus” follow to an audience suddenly now in full voice and buzzing with energy, only somewhat muted.

Okereke, choosing to ignore the slight lull in the middle for "Silent Voice", notes: “London, you’re in fine voice tonight."

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The Bloc Party frontman's uniquely recognisable voice is sublime throughout, giving a reminder of how the band are perhaps one of the most original acts to come from Britain in the last 15 years.

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