There was a brief moment during the exceptional encore performance of the song This Modern Love where Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke looked up at the crowd and gave a most satisfactory of smiles. Maybe it was the unquestioned adoration of the packed crowd, maybe it was the cute girl who blew him a kiss as she crowd surfed to the front of the stage, or just maybe, in that fleeting moment, he thought to himself “yup, we still got it”
The road back to prominence wasn’t exactly a long one for the London group – they only broke up a few years ago. However, if you factor in the general indifference towards the group’s third album Intimacy as well as the overall disappointment of Kele’s solo record, you could make a case that the reformed Bloc Party had a lot to prove. What followed was a declaration that the group was going back to basics, essentially telling all the fans that they were going to follow the same formula that made Silent Alarm so brilliant and apply it to their new album, aptly titled Four. I’d like to point out that another band that had reformed, The Verve, named their comeback/forth album Forth. Why are reforming bands so lazy with their album titles? They really need to consult Fiona Apple or something.
The arrival of Four was met with some divisive opinions but judging by the excitable crowd on Tuesday, I would say it’s been met with some fanfare. Playing the second of two shows in Toronto, not even a drum malfunction could stop Bloc Party from conjuring up quite a dance party that featured multiple crowd surfers at the gorgeeeeeeeous Music Hall on Tuesday night. As I watched wave after wave of people crowd surfing, I kept on wondering – who are these people? It seems that the group has picked up a huge swath of bros since the last time I saw them at a small venue (Opera House, 2006), where there was definitely no crowd surfing. I guess it’s the Edge effect.
Led by the ever charming Kele (who seemed to enjoying screaming the words “TOOOOOROOOOONTOOOO”), Bloc Party played an excitable 80 minute show. While fans have yet to embrace all the tracks from the new album, the single Octopus had it’s fair share of fist pumping from the crowd. New material aside, the heart of the Bloc Party show still resides with the tracks off Silent Alarm as evident by the next level excitement of the crowd whenever the familiar notes of tracks from that record emerged. This Modern Love is just a fantastic song and combined with the set ending track Helicopter gave the London group an excellent 1-2 punch to add to the message they have been giving out.
A return to basics and a return to form, the Bloc Party is back.