Live Review: Bloc Party - Cologne 2013

introE-Werk, Cologne, Germany
18th February 2013
Bloc Party & The Joy Formidable

BLOC PARTY are back on tour. But there were not so many chances in Europe to see them live. In 2013, after two shows in Amsterdam, the Cologne date was the only one in Germany. At least you had the chance to see the band in November last year for a few dates when BLOC PARTY were presenting their new album i.e. in Hamburg or Munich. But there was no date in western Germany and so, there was nothing to wonder that this show in Cologne now was completely sold-out. As support, Welsh THE JOY FORMIDABLE were warming up the audience.


The Joy Formidable

Welsh trio THE JOY FORMIDABLE was formed in 2007 and caused something of a stir by the time debut album ‘The Big Roar’ arrived. Their music is classified as native, epic Grunge-Rock á la ARCADE FIRE or YEAH YEAH YEAHS. After releasing ‘Cradle’ in July 2008 as download, the debut single ‘Austere’ was released on CD in August 2008. Later on, ‘Cradle’ was released a limited CD edition. Several singles and the mini album ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’ followed as well as live shows and a live release. The first real album, ‘The Big Roar’, finally was released in January 2011. Just now, the trio released its new album, ‘Wolf’s Law’ [read our review]. THE JOY FORMIDABLE is Ritzy Bryan (vocals, guitar), Rhydian Dafydd (bass, backing vocals) and Matt Thomas (drums, percussion). http://www.thejoyformidable.com / https://www.facebook.com/thejoyformidable / http://www.myspace.com/thejoyformidable

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Music & Performance
The Indie darlings of alternative music press had about forty minutes to warm the audience up for the evening’s headliner. Live shows of THE JOY FORMIDABLE are always a pleasure, they are exhausting and exhilarating to watch and especially singer Ritzy is an audience magnet with all her energy when she’s rocking across the stage and singing sometimes very clear and sometimes rough. The little set started with the song ‘Cholla’ from the band’s recent album ‘Wolf’s Law’. Also both other new songs presented, namely ‘This Ladder Is Ours’ and ‘Little Blimp’, worked very well live, spreading a lot of power. The rest of the set belonged to older gems, like first ever song ‘Cradle’ or the formidable ‘Austere’. With ‘Whirring’, the set ended much too soon and I guess many people agree that the band easily could have played longer…

Setlist
01. Cholla
02. Austere
03. This Ladder Is Ours
04. Little Blimp
05. The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade
06. Cradle
07. Whirring

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 6
Light: 8
Total: 7.2 / 10

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Bloc Party

BLOC PARTY are finally back in Germany after three years. The British Indie Rock band, consisting of Kele Okereke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Russell Lissack (lead guitar), Gordon Moakes (bass guitar, synths, backing vocals, glockenspiel), and Matt Tong (drums, backing vocals), was formed in 1999 at the Reading Festival. Their debut album, ‘Silent Alarm’, came out in 2005, followed by ‘A Weekend in the City’ in 2007 and ‘Intimacy’ in 2008. After years of studio and live activities, is became quite silent around the band. The quartet went into hiatus to concentrate on solo projects. In September 2011, the band decided to reunite and work on a new album. The fourth studio album, conveniently titled ‘Four’, was released in 2012. BLOC PARTY are still quite popular. As of May 2012, the band has sold two million albums worldwide. And now, they are finally back in Germany to celebrate the release of their latest album with their fans. http://www.blocparty.com / https://www.facebook.com/blocpartyofficial / http://www.myspace.com/blocparty

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Music & Performance
It took a little more than 30 minutes until the stage was finally ready for BLOC PARTY. The stage was decorated with big coloured squares in the back and during the intro, lasers were drawing patterns onto the walls in red, blue, yellow and green… just very fitting to the new album. Finally, the band arrived on stage to start their set with ‘So he begins To Lie’, which is also the opening song from the current album. The packed hall was celebrating with the band from the very start, especially to such classics as ‘Mercury’ and ‘Hunting for Witches’ (from the second album ‘A Weekend in the City’), played right after the opening song. A big downer for me though was the bad sound. It was not well balanced and much too loud, even in the very back. The set itself contained various songs from the new album, mainly in the second half of the main set. ‘Four’, the new album, sees the band turning back again to more guitar oriented and Post-Punk influenced Indie Rock and so, the new songs were very well received by the audience. Might have the reactions towards the new songs been a bit reluctant during the November shows, they were now really appreciated and worked well.

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The whole set was supported by a really nice light show, but this consoled not really for the bad sound disturbing the overall concert experience. When the set finally reached 2005 released ‘Banquet’, no one in the hall was standing still though, no matter if young or old. The audience definitely loved the show and had a good connection to the band. So during the encores, event he song ‘Kreuzberg’ was dedicated to a guy in the audience screaming for it earlier during the show. With ‘Truth’ and ‘Helicopter’, the show ended after little less than ninety minutes, releasing mostly satisfied people into the night. For myself, there was the bitter taste of the bad sound remaining…

Setlist
01. So he begins to Lie
02. Mercury
03. Hunting for Witches
04. Positive Tension
05. Real Talk
06. Waiting for the 7.18
07. Song for Clay (Disappear Here) ('Kele - Tenderoni' intro)
08. Banquet
09. Coliseum
10. Day Four
11. One More Chance
12. Octopus
13. We Are Not Good People
---
14. Kreuzberg (new version)
15. Ares
16. This Modern Love
17. Flux ('Rihanna - We Found Love' intro)
---
18. Ratchet
19. Truth
20. Helicopter

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 6
Light: 9
Total: 7.5 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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