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Bloc Party stunningly revitalised 'Silent Alarm' and flooded everyone back to 2005

All the goodies were played including 'Banquet', 'Helicopter', 'This Modern Love' and 'She's Hearing Voices'.

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Rochelle Flack

In what has had to be one of the most nostalgic tours of the year, Bloc Party’s return to Melbourne, in celebrating their seminal debut album Silent Alarm, was accompanied by plenty of expectation.

For one, longtime fans were getting an iconic record of the 2000’s indie movement dished up by Bloc Party’s new line-up; for many, the departure of Matt Tong and Gordon Moakes is still felt heavily.

For me though, Louise Bartle and Justin Harris are both incredibly talented musicians in their own right and have been admirable inclusions. Particularly Bartle behind the kit, she’s a fierce drummer and nailed the frenetic energy of Silent Alarm without seemingly taking a pause.

 
 
 
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Cleverly playing the album back to front, Bloc Party emerged onto the Margaret Court Arena stage to loud cheers, the album artwork draped behind and the roof of the tennis arena opening to take in a clear, chilly Melbourne night. ‘Compliments’ and ‘Plans’ doled out first meant the crowd was eased into the experience - we knew what was coming but up until that point, we were encouraged to settle in and enjoy the lesser-known cuts.

Kele Okereke was in fine form, too. For those who saw his solo acoustic set at The Spotted Mallard earlier in the year, it was a rare opportunity to see the frontman perform songs from right across his career, both solo and with the band. Stripped back versions of ‘This Modern Love’ and ‘Like Eating Glass’ brought emotional responses, but nothing compared to the original arrangements in this full-band setting.

The vocalist and guitarist was thriving in the atmosphere characterised by the band's early years which was relieving to see given the turmoil Bloc Party has experienced in the past.

As the set reached its midway point, around ‘The Pioneers’ and ‘This Modern Love’, things escalated inside the arena. The audience was in the throes of early 2000’s nostalgia - memories of uni bar parties and indie club nights flooded back vividly.

 
 
 
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‘She’s Hearing Voices’ was delivered with added snarl and sass, while from ‘Banquet’ onward, it was masterclass in Russell Lissack’s guitar skills. He tweeted recently that playing through Silent Alarm was like playing a 45-minute guitar solo and truthfully, it looked like it. It can’t be understated how important he is as a guitarist within that early noughties indie wave; the opening of ‘Helicopter’ is like a timestamp which lovingly transports us back that era. And just like Bartle, Lissack's concentration and deft skills did not dip once.

Following the main set closer of ‘Like Eating Glass’, the audience got a few minutes reprieve, before Bloc Party returned for a mini-set to take in the rest of their catalogue. From ‘Two More Years’ to the more recent Hymns-era, ‘The Love Within’, the band showed they weren’t completely wiped, sending the audience into a final wave of euphoria with ‘The Prayer’ and finally, ‘Flux’.

Sometimes I think about how these anniversary tours can seem monotonous or unoriginal, but for Bloc Party, their stellar debut album Silent Alarm still exists in a bubble of high regard. 13 years on, this music still hits all the right notes and pulls all the right strings; it’s emotional, dramatic and a whole heap of fun. For a lot of us who didn’t see the album toured upon its original release, this was a special night.

Highlight: The first confetti cannon let off as ‘This Modern Love’ entered its final half minute.

Lowlight: Honestly, none.

Crowd Favourite: A tie between ‘Helicopter’ and ‘Flux’.