Bloc Party: The Ritz, Manchester

Bloc Party came to the Ritz in Manchester for the second gig of their much anticipated first tour in two and a half years. Pre-gig I had mixed feelings about what to expect. The Ritz is a fantastic venue and one that I knew would be well suited to Bloc Party and their fans. Having read up on their gig the night before in Glasgow I had discovered that there would be seven new tracks on the set list. This concerned me as the fans wouldn’t be familiar with them and I was beginning to think this was a mistake. I could not have been more wrong.

Bloc Party opened their set with ‘3X3’ from the forthcoming album Four and the crowd loved it. This seemed to be a return to the style of Silent Alarm. Kele’s vocals were really impressive, as were the forceful drum beats and frantic guitars. This was of course accompanied by a laser display as anyone who has seen them perform live before will have come to expect. Another new track ‘Kettling’ followed and was just as good.

The set had got off to a flying start and the audience was yet to hear anything familiar, so when ‘Trojan Horse’ came next the floor erupted with enthusiastic activity. By the end of this track everyone at the front of the audience was covered in sweat and beer – and we were only three tracks in.

Bloc Party then treated us to an impressive rendition of “Waiting For The 7.18’ in which Kele’s vocals were flawless. He had a huge grin on his face throughout this song, and the gig as a whole, really enjoying being back on stage with the rest of the band.

Bloc Party also seemed to really appreciate the fantastic reception given to the new material. To play that amount of untried songs shows tremendous confidence in the quality of the song writing, and also in the faith of the fans. This confidence was clearly justified when they played ‘Real Talk’ as the crowd adored it. Not as heavy as their other new material, ‘Real Talk’ was rhythmic and funky with an amazing dynamic vocal display from Kele.

Another four new songs were showcased during this set, ‘Octopus’, ’Day Four’, ‘Team A’ and ‘Black Crown’, which only helped add to the excitement the new material was generating. They seemed to have reverted to the style which served them so well in the first album, but added some of the heavier, electronic style from the third album – a great combination.

There were many highlights from this night, one being the moment they went straight into ‘Banquet’ from ‘Song For Clay (Disappear Here)’. There was also a cheeky little Rhianna cover but the main highlight was ‘This Modern Love’. Their performance was perfect and Kele’s vocal movingly beautiful. Their decision to end on ‘Flux’ was also a wise choice. The audience left with high expectations for the new album.