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Gig of the Week: Bloc Party

London’s indie heroes are playing 2005’s ‘Silent Alarm’ album in full at Alexandra Palace. Here are five reasons it’s a modern classic

Lisa Wright
Written by
Lisa Wright

1. It’s an influential snapshot of its era

Swooping in during the noughties guitar-pop boom alongside Kaiser Chiefs, Hard-Fi and Maxïmo Park, Bloc Party are one of the era’s few bands not to be branded ‘landfill indie’. They’re as well regarded now as they were back then. Not only that, but their wired sound and tight, spiky riffs have gone on to influence the next generation. We’d wager that Foals, Two Door Cinema Club and Everything Everything all gave ‘Silent Alarm’ more than a few plays when they were forming.

2. It introduced us to the powerhouse that is Kele

In frontman Kele Okereke, we didn’t just get a smart, eloquent lyricist, equally capable of political rage (‘Price of Gas’) and gutting heartache (‘This Modern Love’). We also got an artist who, as a black gay man, provides a fresh and distinctive voice sorely needed in the indie world. Next January, he’ll unveil ‘Leave to Remain’ – a new musical about ‘a young gay couple suddenly faced with an uncertain future’. He’s a genuine maestro.

3. It sounds absolutely enormous live

We all know that ‘Helicopter’ and ‘Banquet’ are gold-plated bangers, but from the desperate gulps of opener ‘Like Eating Glass’ to the murky claustrophobia of ‘She’s Hearing Voices’, there’s not a track on ‘Silent Alarm’ that won’t sound powerful in Ally Pally. Plus, there’s a couple of numbers on it that they’ve only ever played live a handful of times. This gig will thrill the stans.

4. It still soundtracks modern London

Plenty has changed over the last 13 years, but there’s a big-city anxiety to ‘Silent Alarm’ that still resonates. The sound of muddled night-bus rides and dark walks down dimly lit streets, ‘Silent Alarm’ quivers with a tension that any Londoner will relate to.

5. They’re hometown heroes to be proud of

Though the follow-up, ‘A Weekend in the City’, is a cautious musing on the capital’s changing face, ‘Silent Alarm’ is the album that introduced us to a great London band. Bloc Party couldn’t have come from anywhere else, and they soulfully document the double-edged relationship that so many of us have with our city. Let’s welcome them home. 

Bloc Party play Alexandra Palace on Wed Oct 24

Check out more great gigs coming up in London here

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