Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide SA
November 12, 2023
Support: Oscar The Wild
“London is full of creative people – you can never say that it’s not.” – Luke Treadaway.
Although the statement above by the award-winning British actor and singer could be perceived as audacious, there is a myriad of examples in numerous fields of artistic pursuits that support his claim. Renowned writers such as: Virginia Woolfe and Charles Dickens; illustrious actors including Idris Elba and Dame Helen Mirren, then (suitably) celebrated musicians: Amy Winehouse, David Bowie and even The Rolling Stones were formed in “Foggy London Town”.
Indietronic alternative rock act Bloc Party are further evidence of this quote – since their breakthrough debut album Silent Alarm in 2005 the band has acquired: Silver, Gold and Platinum sales statuses for their first three full-lengths in the French, Irish, Australian and British Record Industries respectively. Most of their LPs have charted worldwide; they have sold out an insurmountable number of venues, stadiums and even festivals throughout the globe. As Albert Einstein said: “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” Bloc Party have, all the way from London and they were here in Australia to thankfully do it again.
Before the main event, Adelaide’s indie pop grunge quartet Oscar The Wild were presented with the rather daunting task of welcoming the quickly growing audience members to this sensational showcase. The recent Triple J Unearthed Feature Artists were quick to imprint their sound on those present to witness it with their quirky narrative lyrics and infectious hooks. ‘Pinch Me Please’ was undoubtedly an instant attention grasper with vocalist/guitarist Ruby Gazzola’s beautifully brash delivery of wonderfully witty lines such as: “Just thinking I wish I didn’t give a fuck” striking onlookers and reminding them that Oscar The Wild were here to exhibit their terrific talent.
Reality did kick-in for the quartet when they announced how nervous they were about graduating to the “Big Boy Stage” for this event; these jitters quickly vanished with the single and luscious love song ‘Multicolour’ that incorporated surf-indie-rock delicacies to the grunge vigour which would have had English rock band Elastica rather envious.
The title track from the four-piece’s upcoming EP She’ll Be Right provoked not only engaging dance moves from the entire band, which carried onto the willing audience personnel, but also instigated a playful sing-along of the words: “She’ll Be Right” – it all came together flawlessly.
‘Unafraid’ and ‘Kiss Me Aphrodite’ were sensationally smashed out as closers that captivatingly combined the uproar of The Interrupters with the adventurous nature of No Doubt exquisitely. It did seem to be all over a bit too soon, however Oscar The Wild’s debut EP is due out November 17 and it feels like a lot more “Pinch Me” moments are about to take place.
If British humour is known to involve irony, then this was more than apparent with the lack of vision the majority of the crowd may have had trying to see Bloc Party grace the Hindley Street Music Hall stage. The audience’s vision was in all probability “Bloc(k)ed” and a ‘Helicopter’ may have been required to see the touring quartet.
Although a simple greeting of “G’day” from Kele Okereke and a launch of colossal party fun into ‘In Situ’ where Mr Okereke informed Adelaide over and over that “You need to get your hustle on” was all too ironically perfect. There was nothing silent about this alarm, the Hymns were coming heated and hysterically.
‘You Should Know The Truth’ felt like a funked up revelation that The Wombats have yet to explore, but if they tried, would probably discover the truth that BP have executed it and very well. ‘Hunting For Witches’ cast a spell on the sold-out crowd to forget they were basically incapable of vision, to remember the timeless hit and to just dance their indie-dance-punk souls away. Then ‘Rough Justice’, which unfortunately attracted some unjust roughness until Kele began that overly infectious sing-along with “My My My” and the track’s explosive ramp up moved the enitrety of the Adelaide CBD.
‘Kettling’ faultlessly followed with some overdue guitar heaviness that the previous track only supplied glimmers of, ‘High Life’ then slowed everything down; a questionable move, but the reggae feel on the song does calm the storm and embrace the love in the room for the four-piece and their fandom.
The tranquil introduction of ‘Song For Clay (Disappear Here)’ allowed Kele to hypnotise all onlookers with his mesmerising voice and balladry before the kick-in of powerful percussion courtesy of Louise Bartle (who did not miss a beat), and hip-shaking instrumentation moved the brimming venue, literally. ‘Banquet’ was the song devotees of the four-piece have waited for since before the pandemic; let’s be honest, the indie anthem IS the song the general populace who love the genre wait for. The band have it engrained so well in their DNA, it still has that commanding capability of making the listener fall in love with it, over and over, as if they are “on fire”.
‘Traps’ combined everything Bloc Party are magnificent at with the drive of Gang Of Four’s ‘To Hell With Poverty’; where ‘Day Four’ felt partially out of place leaning towards The Temper Trap’s ambience. Truthfully though, the rest and drinks break was appreciated. ‘Blue’ was similar, but with more of a Cage The Elephant instruction and ‘So Here We Are’ was the building serenade that thankfully re-engaged the audience to feel like they were ascending to another universe, on a new wave.
‘She’s Hearing Voices’ was the overdue Joy Division enchantment and craving this writer and many others were holding their breath for (obviously very modernised). The hum of ‘The Prayer’ felt spiritual, experimental and even contained a slight Nick Cave remixing New Order charm that was undoubtedly a highlight. ‘Ratchet’ was the boppin’ closer where Kele brought some hip-hop into the funktronica. This was a rather confusing way to conclude though – was this weekend now officially over in the city?
Un-Bloody-Likely! ‘Only He Can Heal Me’ was a dance-driven re-introduction of the quartet for their encore that had an ethereal emittance. ‘Helicopter’ was pandemonium and did not require Bloc Party vocally at all, the attendees were deafening in singing the entirety of the song, much like ‘Banquet’ had done earlier (yes, the chopper would have helped for vision of the stage, still).
‘Flux’ which means “flow” should have been renamed ‘Hyperflux’ because it flowed too well; beyond human capability and understandably those who witnessed it, magnified their “hyper” attitude.
‘This Modern Love’ was the official finale and it was spellbinding, simply.
“Peace Out” Mr Okereke exclaimed; party over. The guitar had already been turned upside down once, now it had been placed down. Next time, Adelaide needs a bigger venue and as stated earlier: “London is full of creative people – you can never say that it’s not.”
The truth is in the numbers.
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Oscar The Wild