Glastonbury Review: Bloc Party

June 29, 2024

There is something to be said for persistence. Bloc Party, the multicultural musical force that first emerged during the “Great Rock Revival”, have had more lineup changes than Pep Guardiola dishing out squad rotation. Only frontman and lynchpin, Kele Okereke, and his experimental guitar sidekick, Russell Lissack, have remained from those heady 00s days. “I know we’ve had a lot of lineup changes over the years…no shade,” Okereke quipped beneath the blazing early evening sun.

Before him on the Other Stage the crowd was an immense heaving slab of humanity. It was impressive to see not only the fondness in which they’re held, but the durability of their indie wares – some of this material is scaling the double-decade anniversary summit. It’s hard to imagine many contemporaneous observers reckoning they’d be such a timeless unit going into the 2020s, but (so) here we are.

Not only did they deliver the goods live, but the song selection ebbed and flowed between arms-aloft bangers and introspective indie ballads. It worked. The heavy hitters from their classic debut Silent Alarm were greeted like a returning lover (one snag: no ‘Like Eating Glass’, but we’ll let them off), and the tunes beyond that album proved to be their equal too. The likes of ‘Flux’, ‘I Still Remember’, and ‘One More Chance’ were potent reminders of the “rockets” in their “pockets” (Okereke takes the credit for coining it like so).

The winding, knotty guitar licks of ‘Hunting for Witches’ and ‘Helicopter’ had the field in a fever, while the fervour that greeted ‘Banquet’ was as predictable as it was delirious. The itchy verbal rap delivery on ‘Ratchet’ matched its bug-eyed guitar riff and brought matters to a thunderous head.

With nostalgia being a cash cow ripe for exploitation, Bloc Party know their sacred spot in 30/40-somethings’ hearts. It’s also clear that they don’t want to solely trade in the past. There is new musical land ahead, and it’s clear that they are amped up and raring to go, looking forward at that new horizon. They certainly left Glastonbury goers in no doubt that if they had tuned out from Bloc Party, maybe it’s time to tune right back in.

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