Best Concerts of Sziget 2016 #6: Bloc Party

It kind of ups your indie credential if you have a song, possibly from an old (read: first) album, possibly a big hit (read: your biggest hit ever) that you then conscientiously refuse to play live.  It paints you in fashionable faded grays as a difficult, tormented artist producing over catchy hits which you then almost regret, but well, you’re good, you just could not help it.
But let us not be too harsh on Bloc Party- they do actually play Two More Years every now and then, just not too often, and not on Sziget this time. Just as they don’t always split up, but when they do, it’s not really forever- indefinite hiatus is one of the terms which keeps popping up so often in their biography that they might as well name a song in it’s honour.
They also tinkered with the line up a bit, confusing some of those in attendance, who stared into the mysterious depths of their beer looking for an answer as to whether the band’s drummer was always female. And that’s a no- Louise Bartle joined the band after the slightly acrimonious departure of Matt Tong in 2013, of which Kele Okereke enigmatically said to have involved disagreements over cocaine.
The one obvious thing though is that this fresh incarnation of Bloc Party definitely seems to be in a better place than the late troubled version of the previous line up. They sound better as well, the songs following each other in a strong, clear sequence, with Kele’s voice still being one of the most distinctive ones to have surfaced from the seas of noughties indie. And then there’s the punch, the moment when you feel that a song becomes a bit of a festival anthem, with the crowd singing along and swaying to the rhythm- this happened around Banquet, incidentally my second favourite Bloc Party song, and I almost forgave them for that Two More Years omission- I say almost not because the set itself did not make up for it amply, but because I occasionally indulge in holding harmless grudges.

In case you wonder whence the silly love for Two More Years, well, it happens to belong to a very elect and select list of indie songs which I have decided to use as the basis of fundamental existential guidelines, sort of a replacement for holy texts and self help books, which I find a nigh impossible to read. The relevant bit is ‘You don’t need to find answers for questions never asked of you’ and I dare you to argue with it, because, of course, it’s pointless and you will lose.

The backbone of the set was obviously built on the older albums, maybe a bit conspicuously so for a band theoretically promoting their latest release, but then again festival playlists are always a bit of a compromise and leave space for less experimentation, which given the onslaught of acts following one another does make sense in the grand scheme of things. And in this very grand scheme of things we are glad to have Bloc Party back with new faces but good old vibes. 









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