Bloc Party: Tokyo – live Review
Ebisu Garden Hall, Tokyo
27th January 2013
There has always been something quite seasoned and meticulous about Bloc Party’s unique blend of post-punk rawness and cavort-able dance rock, but the blueprints were definatley written on the back of a phone box sex worker’s calling card, all those lust filled plaintive declarations of unrequited passions, the lasciviousness in the reciprocated narratives and the self-analysis of regretful actions. This melding of lyrical salaciousness and effect saturated alt rock harmonizes into an inveigling battle, that while polarizing is also utterly beguiling.
Live these adversaries are in a constantly undulating war, each striving to gain ground, the raw pounding muscularity pressing down on the lenient textures of Kele Okereke’s disconsolate descant and the sweet trickle of Russell Lissack’s guitar melody, which at times are just enough to pacify the bombs of raw urgent energy going off, but they never quite conquer. The show opens, just like their most recent album; with the clunky off beats of ‘So He Begins to Lie’ the audience close to matching the sound level of the splintering guitars that stab at Kele’s melancholic wail. Shifting to their back catalogue, they’ve, stripped off the layers of electronica and shifted to loud plus, as a statement of intent for ‘Trojan Horse’ which frankly just kicked down the door marked ‘post hard-core’. In the same vein ‘Hunting for Witches’ crackles and twitches with jolts of embittered agitated vitriol and a chaotic dance between Matt Tong and Gordon Moakes: the drums and bass jumping in and out of each other’s path as they take turns to display their machismo.
Kele is naturally affable, and banters with the audience throughout the evening ‘Who said that?’ he asks an unseen heckler ‘Well I love you too, and, as a symbol of my love I give you this next song’. While the chat between songs is honest and off the cuff the set is extremely well thought through the dynamics of each song meshes with and highlight’s the extraordinary brilliances in the next. ‘Like Eating Glass’, ‘Kettling’ and ‘Real Talk’ follow, it’s a work out for body, emotions and mind, as your senses work frantically to keep you informed of the sheer volume of glorious content on offer. Moakes and Lissack are like turbo fuelled bookends bent double in attempts to squeeze out every drop of sound their fingers in almost perpetual momentum. ‘Waiting for the 7:18’, ‘Song for Clay’, ‘Banquet’ and ‘Day 4’ do not falter and as Okereke stashes his guitar and starts dancing and bouncing around the stage he gets the audience into a me sing you sing mass ‘duet’ for ‘On More Chance’ followed by a deviously fleshy ‘Octopus’ which brings the first half of the night to an end.
“Okay this is round two” imparts Kele as we slide into the delicacy of ‘Signs’ the tenderness more solid but no less sentimentally attractive, perfectly chosen next ‘Ares’ a fiery demon of rebellion and uncontainable war cry had the audience utterly amped. Making sure there’d be not crash after the ascent we are thrust into ‘Flux’: we blinked and they had gone. Obligatory and heartfelt dry throated screams BLOC PARTY! BLOC PARTY! BLOC PARTY! Allowed to prolonged just long enough, the re taking to the stage is swiftly done with as the dub step beat of ‘Ratchet’ pounds, it has the surprising effect of refreshing the room, allowing the regretful ‘Sunday’ to next like an energizer power up everyone, giving us all one last chance to cut loose for the ‘Helicopter’ finale – it is the quintessential no holds barred anthem of RARRRRR!: Which pretty much sums up the whole evening. The band coming together arms around each other thanking the audience, the look like past issues are behind them and there will be, thank goodness, a Bloc Party for the future.
Bloc Party’s Japan tour continues: January 29th at Nagoya Club Quattro and 30th at Osaka Akaso.
February brings an 8 date European tour which includes dates in Dublin, Holland, Germany, Belgium and France culminating on February 22nd at Earls Court, London. Further details about tickets plus links to purchase for all Bloc Party’s gigs can be found on their website.