Try Before You Buy

As Bloc Party toured the UK to put 'Silent Alarm' to bed at the end of 2005, the sold out London stop off point was the Brixton Academy. On the eve of the release of album number two the band could certainly have repeated that occasion, however instead they went for three nights at the more cozy surroundings of the Astoria. The speed with which tickets for these gigs were snapped up, and the army of touts working their nuts off outside confirmed Bloc Party can return to the Capital's larger venues at whatever point they choose.

Inside the Astoria there was a real sense of anticipation in the air as although the Internet has it's ways of getting music out before it's supposed to be, there's nothing quite like hearing it from the band themselves before the CD reaches record shop shelves. On this evidence 'A Weekend In The City' will be just as successful a record as the band's debut. Although it doesn't seem to have lost any of their distinctive sound, there's plenty doing what they do but you can always tell a Bloc party song when you hear one, as is often the case with the second album there's a more polished, focused feel to it. 'The Prayer' demonstrates exactly that: I know plenty of Bloc Party fans that have taken a while to get their heads round this latest single release but with time it's unquestionably a grower. If the rest of the new material played tonight improves at a similar rate, much of it already has an instantly strong feel, then Bloc Party shows for the next year are going to be must see events.

The band played for around one and a quarter hours, and delivered a set well balanced between new taster moments and fan favourites from 'Silent Alarm'. The reaction every old track received would make anyone not familiar with Bloc Party's career think everyone was a top ten smash hit single. Songs to go down especially well included 'Like Eating Glass', 'Blue Light', 'Banquet', 'So Here We Are' and 'Helicopter'. In the week of it's release new single 'The Prayer' which is already a top twenty hit thanks to sales of downloads, also received one of the biggest cheers of the night from the highly charged energetic crowd.

With this tour now around a week old, the well-oiled Bloc Party live machine has picked up where it left off with the band on top form. The next year or so is set to be a busy time for the band with the promotional trail for 'A Weekend In The City' already well underway. Expect to see them play a festival near you this summer as well as a return to the bigger venues across the UK later in the year. For now the packed Astoria crowd left having been treated to exactly the kind of night they came for.