Venue: Fort Gate @ Fort Canning Park, Singapore
Date: 18th March 2013
Review by: Fadhil R.
Special Thanks: The Now/Live team
As I entered Fort Gate, the backdrop of the stage greeted me first. The four colored squares on the backdrop that consisted of red, blue, yellow and green respectively were pretty familiar to most of the fans here in Singapore, as it resembles the colors of their recent album cover titled Four. Since then, the band has become one of the hottest properties in the world. Their popularity grew quicker with tireless tours they’ve been on, especially after their brief spell for Future Music Festival recently and then finally stopping over at Fort Gate of Fort Canning Park. Seeing people mouth the lyrics to their songs was something that I admire most before the start of the concert.
I must admit that the bright neon lights the event crew was using nearly blinded my eyes and I guessed I’m not the only one experiencing that. Being distracted by the ongoing flashes, Bloc Party slowly stepped onto the well-constructed stage, with each member taking over their instruments.
The British indie rock band rolled through immediately with “So He Begins To Lie” as the band stepped forward with their array of good vibes from them. It was a pretty dull affair though, halfway through the song but don’t get me wrong. Not necessarily different from previous works, there’s definitely nothing wrong with the song, as the band is still really good at what they do. As “Mercury” was heard, the crowd knew it’s going to be a long night of intensity. The emotion and rawness in Kele Okereke’s voice really sells it. The other boys were truly brilliant as they made the surround sound as awesome as it seemed and no doubt “Hunting For Witches” was beautifully done.
It’s easy to hear why there’s all the fuss about not listening to them on the radio but rather getting addicted to their songs played live. Mainly because Matt Tong was shirtless from the very start, Russell was being groovy and crazy on the guitar, Gordon was meddling with all sorts of instruments he could put his hands on, and Okereke was so calm and collected that he needed a bigger spotlight to make him appear more serious. “Like Eating Glass” sure did that and drew in to the magical side of Okereke’s vocals. Matt Tong was banging hard on the drums, and proved his skills are underrated.
There was a funny moment when drummer Matt was playing the intro of “Team A” but stopped abruptly, leaving the vocalist scratching his head and said, “That’s a ten pound fine there.” I swear to god the whole band was chuckling at that point, even the crowd. Nevertheless, Bloc Party was sticking to high tempo and that indie rock tune of “Team A” followed by “Real Talk” from their latest album Four gave the crowd a bit more movement. With their jangling guitars and nonchalant vocals of Okereke yet again, these dudes didn’t disappoint me in any way. Persuasive storytelling by the vocalist, in between stoppages, was nothing less than hilarious.
Crowd interaction and showmanship are their subtle traits. “Waiting For The 7:18” and “Song For Clay (Disappear Here)” are just simple and clear, with no one stopping them to take a break. Okereke kept asking the crowd if anyone followed them all the way from London to be here, and finding out where the parties are. Someone from the crowd without hesitation rose the UK flag but the vocalist promptly said, “Put those flags away!” The crowd was surprisingly amused by that. Bloc Party was by far the coolest people who are fans of parties and pretty colors, especially when the gig seemed like a fashion parade.
Moving on, “Banquet” was easily the song that I’m most attracted to and “Coliseum” concentrates on their tune for a more personal, sense of belonging, and that angst feeling. There were flashes of brilliance in these two songs however, in terms of whether you want to dance cheekily to it or make a little mosh out of it. Simple, yet can still make the speakers throb with the very definition of epic.
We all know the boys were so casual on stage that even when guitarist Russell screwed up a certain song three times for the intro, you know that we as fans can’t just simply bear to leave the place and listen to their songs on iPod instead. Everyone at Fort Gate was cheering the band on and Okereke laughed it off by telling the crowd, “Do not tell anyone about this.” Despite all that, “Day Four” swept us away like the rest of the songs so far. Raising our hands up high for the slow tempo that we needed from the band, “The Prayer” on the other hand has that rhythm to make you go on your knees and hail them for their supremacy. Taken from the album Weekend In The City, the boys were gleeful, keeping the crowd moving in a swinging manner. As the lyrics of the song suggested, “Lord, give me grace and dancing feet. And the power to impress.” Well, they just did.
What the world needs now is their kind of music. The boys are performers of their own creations and with immeasurable abilities; no wonder the band had a feud with Liam and Noel Gallagher separately about their own brilliance. Okereke’s unmistakable voice represents a unique opportunity to let everyone know he is unique both live and in the studio. He totally has that genuine sweetness in him when they played “One More Chance”. One of the signs of a good band is if they can make their tunes seep in to your soul and change your behavior completely without sounding like some cheesy track. Their straight-up tune titled “Octopus” was a blend of awe and funk at the same time, taken from their recent album Four. It just showed Bloc Party’s progression throughout their years of existence. As they waved seemingly their last goodbye to the crowd, an encore was in everyone’s mind before they even left the stage.
“Let’s give it another round shall we?” Okereke burst onto the stage once again along with the rest of the band; Bloc Party won’t rest easy. Songs like “Signs”, “Ares”, and “This Modern Love” provide that definition of sweet control, with bassist Gordon providing the backup vocals with authority. They are just taking their time with the encore and putting their hearts into these songs. It’s kind of lovely to see the front crowd being energetic and jumping around while the rest were just dancing at the back, holding on to their beers.
“Intimacy” is by far the best album from them in my opinion, so I was really hoping they played Flux, turned out they did – but with a twist. The boys raised the volume up as they covered Rihanna’s “We Found Love” as the intro, which was a nice transition into “Flux”. Those heavy beats by Matt Tong got the crowd’s adrenaline pumping! The band thanked the crowd with that seemingly their final song as the stage lights went out all of a sudden and few people started to move out from Fort Gate.
All hopes were not lost when they announced a second encore and not only the fans were rejoiced but the band were excited and totally deserve one final round; although it has been quite a while since a band had two encores!
Fresh new song titled “Ratchet” doesn’t seem to sound like a depressing one and their music doesn’t seem to change much as “Truth” ensued. Truly heartwarming tracks and lyrically charming! We should all take pride in their musical ability despite having only produced four records.
Original and very captivating, Bloc Party’s live performance says it all. It’s just a matter of respecting their standpoint on the songs and making sure that we all believe in what they’re doing. No wonder their famous and immaculate hit “Helicopter” led to the strong reception and positive reaction they’ve been getting! What a way to end their set with a salute. Those lucky enough to hear them live on that unforgettable Monday night, you guys better give them a nod and confetti to sprinkle over their heads. A smashing success for the whole event and a big thank you to Now/Live for bringing them in!