Preview: Bloc Party at O2 Guildhall, Southampton

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Since first exploding onto the indie rock/alternative dance scene in 1999, London-based Bloc Party have evolved their sound and even their lineup continuously. However one thing that has stayed the same is the band’s love affair with veteran music magazine NME: former member Gordon Moakes, for example, actually responded to an advert placed in the magazine by frontman Kele Okereke, and their first album Silent Alarm was hailed NME Album of the Year in 2005. Therefore it is only fitting that Bloc Party are set to headline this year’s NME Awards Tour ahead of their fifth, highly-anticipated album, Hymns.

Similar success followed the band with studio realise number two, A Weekend in the City in 2007 and their third album, Intimacy in 2008. After declaring a hiatus to focus on their individual side projects in 2009, the band was back in 2012 with their fourth album, Four, which although received positive reviews – reaching number 3 on the UK Albums Chart – the hiatus was resumed and members Matt Tong and Gordon Moakes left the band in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

The band debuted new members, Louise Bartle and Justin Harris, as well as brand new track The Good News in November 2015. They were also announced as the headline act for the NME Awards Tour 2016 and will feature alongside Drenge and ones-to-watch Ratboy and Bugzy Malone. Bloc Party are currently rumoured to play Reading and Leeds 2016, appropriate considering the band was formed by childhood friends Okereke and Russell Lissack at Reading Festival in 1999.

Bloc Party cite a variety of influences to attribute their ever-changing sound including The Chemical Brothers, The Smiths and Joy Division. Most recently the band have become much more of an electronic dance act, probably due to Okereke’s solo career which is often described as electro-house and includes two full length albums, The Boxer and Trick. Bloc Party’s songs are also frequently political and tackle difficult issues such as race and homosexuality; their name in fact is often misinterpreted to refer to the Eastern Bloc, (which some of you may remember from history as the countries that supported the Soviet Union).

Tickets for the NME Awards Tour 2016 are still available via this link.

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