Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, ON
September 10, 2012
Review by: Chad Hutchings
Photos by: Allison Janzen
The British rock outfit teaches Toronto how to be an audience.
On the first leg of a tour supporting their fresh new release Four, it was pretty fitting that Bloc Party spent their two-show Toronto run at the Danforth Music Hall, a space boasting a fresh new finish of its own. With the venue's newly removable seats tucked away somewhere in the bowels of the building, the hall was jammed with a full standing crowd – a crowd that, despite having waited far too long since the last Bloc Party visit, was confusingly short on energy.
Maybe we can blame it on the early Monday morning the audience had faced that day, but for an act like Bloc Party – an act that's full of so much fire and wild work - this just could not stand, and lead Kele Okereke became devoted to amping up a crowd that regularly went from shouting lyrics and crowd surfing to deadpan staring within seconds.
But Kele championed the party with a stubbornness I'd never before seen on stage, shouting challenges like “We did not come back for this, Toronto” and “Come on you fuckers!” mixed with every other fathomable way to pump up a crowd, including leading what was a pretty solid musical performance (albeit a short one, coming in at less than an hour long before a double encore). Granted, the vocals were a little flat and the levels were slightly off, but the pieces as a whole sounded huge, and the life they were given on-stage finally ended up beating the sleepy Monday out of the crowd for good at the point when "This Modern Love" came to life somewhere around the two-thirds mark. From there on in, the lazy audience shook off their weight and responded with the kind of energy deserving of upbeat tracks like “Helicopter” and “Flux” (served up with a clever reworking of Rhianna's “We Found Love” that got the ladies dancing, just as Okereke had asked).
And so, in the end, despite entering a losing fight, Bloc Party won the battle with the lifeless Toronto crowd and proved themselves capable of one of the best live performances the city has seen all year.
Although Ceremony's stage time started and ended before our writer found his way through the doors, our photographer pulled off some great shots from the set.