Live Review: Bloc Party @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl

16 Nov 2023

It’s fitting that Interpol and Bloc Party are co-headlining this tour as their histories have intertwined in many ways throughout their impressive careers. Interpol even took Bloc Party on their first ever tour back in the early 2000s.

Tonight, Interpol start off and are a bit late to hit the stage but quickly make up for it with their captivating and atmospheric alt-rock anthems from their back catalogue, as well as some new material they released since they last toured Australia. Lead singer Paul Banks wears dark black sunglasses and doesn’t move from his front position on the stage as they deliver a sharp and mature performance with a striking intensity.

Mirror-ball lighting effects pulsate around their static stage presence to put the audience in a trance as their dark, raw and moody sound fills the bowl. From tracks off their latest album including Toni and Into The Night ­to brooding fan favourites Roland, Evil and Rest My Chemistry fans are excited to have Interpol back for the first time since 2018.

“Good evening Melbournia! We are Bloc Party from London, England and we are heaps exited to be here – that’s the truth,” says frontman Kele Okereke. They continue with their song called The Truth.

“Let’s get this party started don’t be shy,” he taunts as they launch into Hunting For Witches. For a Thursday night, the energy levels skyrocket as fans get excited for some of their golden oldies. Contagious dance patterns begin to break out from the stalls to the lawn area as Bloc Party strike up a reverberating drumbeat and erratic sound effects.

They perform a short cover of Paul Kelly’s Dumb Things before unleashing their supercharged hit Banquet. Come on Melbourne, show us what you’ve got!” Shouts Okereke as the mosh pit ignites.

They dedicate a new song (High Life) from their latest EP to the person (or people) smoking weed out in the crowd and take it down a bit with Different Drugs and Okereke loops his vocals for Only He Can Heal Me.

“Are you enjoying the summer evening? Okereke asks as he feels the cold air. “If I wanted a summer evening like this I should’ve stayed in London,” he jokes. He logs for somewhere warmer with a song about beaches called So Here We Are.

The mutual love Bloc Party and their Australian fans have is something special. It’s been five years since they were last in the country, and this is the biggest venue they’ve played to date. Their set list is a great mix with a few new songs from their latest album Alpha Games.

Helicopter, Blue Light, This Modern Love from their first album Silent Alarm are played towards the end to build up to a big finally and they fill the bowl with trilling guitars and emotionally charged singalongs as we soak up the nostalgia.

Due to the delay starting, they keep things moving without an encore and power through right to end without a break with Flux and The Prayer. “We’ve got one more left in our pocket. Back home we call this next sort of song a banger, I don’t know what you guys call it,” teases Okereke. “Do you like bangers in Melbourne?” He taunts, before they end with their final song Ratchet.

Words by Michael Prebeg

Behind the lens Monique Picazza

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