Bloc Party at Latitude 2013 review

'Was this their genuine swansong?'

Bloc Party at Latitude 2013 review

Photographer:Sara Bowrey

John Bownas - 20 July 2013

On a day when the main stage at this oh-so-civilised Latitude Festival could best be described as interesting if not exciting, Bloc Party turn things on their head by being exciting if not interesting. 

Exciting it must be stressed in a ‘lots of lasers and we’ve got to dance to the headliners’ sort of way.

Not interesting that is except for those who follow the soap opera of their seemingly uncertain future. 

Sarah Jones may not be a household name, but the Hereford lass has drummed with some top-flights bands in her 13 years behind the skins. She’s kept time for Hot Chip, New Young Pony Club and Bat for Lashes – to name just a few.

But tonight at Latitude 2013 she’s keeping the beat for Bloc Party

She’s tight as you like, however, at the same time as she holds the band together she’s also helping to cast more doubts over their future.

From a casual passer’s-by viewpoint tonight’s set has the right mix of hits and dance-floor fillers to keep the sizeable crowd amused and alive. ‘Signs’ and  the staccato Clash-esque guitar-riff of ‘Banquet’ both set the heart of the arena thumping, and ‘Helicopter’, kept for the penultimate tune, makes everyone who’s been waiting for them to ‘play their song’ as happy as can be.

However apart from that and Kele’s hey fever snot there seems little to write home on a festival postcard about. 

Little, that is, except that the unannounced and uncommented replacement of Matt Tong with the young Ms Jones, some acid interplay between Kele and bassist Gordon Moakes, and a backwash of gossip from recent gigs leaves little doubt that this is one party where people are starting to wonder where they’ve left their coats.

Kele introduces the band’s extended encore with a rallying call to the crowd “this is a fight song, so don’t be a bunch of pussies!”  

If the current incarnation of Bloc Party has any fight left in it, is that just because they know they are on the final leg of their journey together? 

It’s no secret that the band is going to go their separate ways again after the current series of gigs.

So the question is, will they repeat past form and eventually put their differences aside, or will tonight’s Latitude headline show be one of their genuine swansongs?


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