REVIEW: Bloc Party, NME Tour, Southampton Guildhall

Bloc Party
Bloc Party
Jon Richardson 'Old Man'. Picture by Andy Hollingworth

REVIEW: Jon Richardson at The Kings Theatre, Southsea

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Now in it’s 21st year the NME Awards tour has always had a reputation for unexpected and memorable moments.

This year’s headliners Bloc Party, whose fifth album hit shelves on Friday, may be an established name in indie circles, but they failed to deliver the set they’re capable of at the Guildhall on Saturday night.

Support acts Ratboy and Drenge had pulled out all of the stops, but didn’t ignite a crowd, which seemed to thin out before the main act even took to the stage.

A half-full venue then witnessed a very swift 70-minute set that felt like Bloc Party going through the motions.

When you’re unsure whether a and has left the stage because it’s the end of the main set or not, it’s not a good sign.

The new material sounded good, but the only real highlight was a trio of older songs mid-set starting with Waiting For The 7:18 from 2007’s A Weekend In The City. It became clear that despite lead singer Kele Okereke’s encouragement to the crowd, there was little atmosphere in the room to spark this into being Bloc Party’s finest hour. It was good to hear the hits, but I suspect many left the venue with a growing sense of disappointment.