It’s that time of year again where NME attempt to gather the best set of current yet classic, big but small bands and shove them onto a line-up to tour up and down the country. And this year it worked well, surprisingly well.
Opener, grime-plagued Bugzy Malone caused crowd-spread confusion for the fans who were there to solely see indie-alternative sweethearts Bloc Party. However it somehow worked, whether that was down to the artist thriving in cockiness and arrogance, forcing the crowd to believe this was their headline set, or the sheer quality of the tracks.
Angst-driven Rat Boy brought a sheer nostalgic element to the night, filling his short-but-sweet set with “I hate you mum” mardy-teen infused lyrics, and silly string spraying aplenty. ‘Sign On’ and new single ‘MOVE’ created a funk-infused wave, spread throughout the crowd to only be cut-off by the next act.
The Drenge brothers penultimately bombarded onto the stage, preparing to ruin any pleasant atmosphere the prior acts had set-up. The duo couldn’t resist creating a mosh-circle at any opportunity, causing screaming teens to run back to their mates whilst pre-pubescent “hard lads” took on the mosh-pits alone. ‘Bloodsports’ and ‘Backwaters’ produced the usual overly-enthused outcome of lyrics being screamed amongst the crowd, whilst ‘Fuckabout’ caused infectious swaying.
Then it was time for the act everyone had, secretly, been waiting for- and the all-new arrangement of Bloc Party took to the stage. The setlist took a pleasant turn, providing an array of discography tracks- without the main focus being on recent album release Hymns. Admittedly, the band opened with new album tracks ‘The Good News’ and ‘Only He Can Heal Me’, showing the crowd exactly why the band member re-shuffle worked. ‘Banquet’ supplied the most exciting, reminiscent moment of the night, where heavy riffs created chanting, in the least hooligan way.
Despite affairs being slower than the rest of the line-up, the time to purely appreciate the music was now. However heavier crowd-pleasers ‘Octopus’, ‘The Love Within’ and ‘Banquet’ gave the other acts a run for their money, and anyone else who was playing the Nottingham venue for the week to come.