So here we are, at a Bloc Party show in Dublin. For a while, it was a prospect that seemed unlikely as the band’s self-declared hiatus lead to a bizarre period of in-fighting and what appeared to be the end of the story. A reconciliation and impressive fourth album later, however, and they’re not only back in town but managing to fill the Olympia for two nights with relative ease. It’s a situation that post-Britpop colleagues Maximo Park, The Futureheads and even Franz Ferdinand are probably viewing with envy.
They don’t exactly hit the stage running though. ‘So Here We Are’ introduces them in a low key fashion, slightly at odds with the excitement that greets their arrival, and leads to a tentative few opening moments. Kele Okereke is left to carry the show pretty much on his own (bar a very smart set of lights), a role that he’s not immediately comfortable with. He warms up after a while, as do the band, and the night begins to shift up a gear. After the electronic interludes of Intimacy and singer’s solo work, Bloc Party are very much back in love with guitars. It’s surprising how heavy they get at points, prompting a circle pit beneath the Olympia’s elegantly decorated balcony.
As strong as the songs off Four are (particularly ‘Coliseum’ and ‘Real Talk’), the further they go back in their history the greater the heights the gig reaches. While the dedicated lose their collective minds, the casual observer may well be surprised at just how many of the band’s tunes have lodged over the years. ‘Banquet’ and ‘Positive Tension’ take us back to a time when everybody supposedly sounded like Wire (they didn’t) and only a pulsating ‘Flux’ (prefaced by a snippet of ‘We Found Love’) sees them abandon the rock template. Sipping from a hip flask, Okereke ends the night urging us to show him what we’ve got and get rowdy, before they leave us with an epic ‘This Modern Love’. Having reconnected with themselves and their music, Bloc Party are again at one with their audience. An exciting second act beckons.
Photos: Debbie Hickey