Review: Bloc Party & Interpol @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl (Melbourne)

Bloc Party played Sidney Myer Music Bowl (Melbourne) on 16 November, 2023 - image © Harrison Innes
Now based in Melbourne/ Naarm, Harrison is a passionate advocate for live music in Australia and enjoys both shooting/ reviewing the best live shows.

It's a huge moment for indie-heads across Australia, with Bloc Party and Interpol teaming up to bring their world-class performances to Australian shores, which kicked off last night (16th November) at Melbourne's Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

With the sun high in the sky, local Australian support dust were first to jump on stage, bringing a fresh punk energy to the filling amphitheatre.

Still relatively new in the Australian music scene, dust have had an explosive 2023. From supporting bands like Slowdive and Trophy Eyes, to appearing at The Great Escape and SXSW Sydney, the Newcastle band are finishing the year strong, supporting Bloc Party and Interpol on their nationwide tour.

Their exciting mix of alternative indie and post punk instantly clicked with the crowd, getting the wind-frozen crowd moving early in the night. "Thank you Bloc Party for having us, God Bless."

An obvious highlight of dust's set was their debut single, the blood-pumping track 'The Gutter', with the crowd well and truly getting into it. With a flurry of shoutouts and a few more high-energy, raucous tracks, the band managed to grab a photo before making way for Interpol.

dust - image © Harrison Innes

As the sun finally set, and with patrons well and truly crowded in, Interpol took to the foggy, light-filled stage. A band whose career now treks back a couple of decades, the Manhattan rock, post-punk group played a set much like their music: a slow build to a huge finale.

Fog floated up into the packed amphitheatre as the band traversed their wide spanning discography. Crowd favourite tracks showed their faces, while deeper cuts kept fans on their toes.

Huge choruses were littered through the set, with the audience echoing every word to songs like 'Rest My Chemistry'. Super fans dotted around the venue gave their all, jumping and wailing, revelling in the performance.

"It's amazing to be back in Australia, it's been way too long," said lead singer Paul Banks. Finishing on their popular track 'Slow Hands', Interpol cleanly wrapped up their stellar rock show to a roar of audience approval.

The slow-burning set had reached its climax, leaving Interpol fans among the crowd with gleeful smiles on their face.

Interpol - image © Harrison Innes

With the stage fog slowly clearing, a barrage of lights engulfed the stage as Bloc Party took the stage. Looming over the four figures was a huge banner of a Venus flytrap, lit with different colours creating an ominous backdrop.

The band launched into 'In Situ', immediately creating rumbles through the front row. "I love you Kele!" shouted someone from the crowd, a sly smile breaking out from the lead singer's face.

"G'day Melbourne, we're Bloc Party from London, UK," said Kele in a heavily accented tone.

Bloc Party's clearly refined set was exaggerated with an intense light show full of colour and strobes, matching each song's energy. It was chaotic when it needed to be and subdued in the quieter moments.

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Bloc Party - image © Harrison Innes

Following along with the band's energy, the crowd knew when to sing, and when to be silent, like in times when Kele was down on his knees fiddling with delays and reverbs, creating echoed and distorted vocal chains. In the more upbeat and hectic moments, Okereke was clearly feeling the music, dancing around stage while his bandmates tore into their instruments.

Plenty of these moments were present throughout the hour and a bit set, keeping the freezing audience warm, although a quip comparing Melbourne to London's weather didn't go down well with some of the crowd. "C'mon you Aussies!" shouted the frontman.

While the crowd was giddily involved with a stomp-clap chant introducing 'The Prayer', the last four songs were the cherry on top for most, as Bloc Party ripped through some of their most well-known tracks.

While 'Helicopter' definitely had the biggest reception of the night, 'This Modern Love' was audibly the biggest sing-along, with the crowd's voices echoing far off into the night sky. A few brave crowd-surfers thought it bright to make it to the front being quickly scooped up by security.

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Bloc Party - image © Harrison Innes

After the band's final track 'Ratchet', which very possibly could've been played at a faster tempo than its recording (as it felt like it was), Bloc Party took one final look to their Melbourne audience and gave a gracious bow.

After a mammoth 19-song set list, Bloc Party fans let out a roaring cheer as the band left the stage, in no need of an encore or last words.

More photos from the show.

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