Concert Review | Bloc Party still puts on incredible live show
The indie band rocked Boston’s House of Blues
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 01:09
After a four−year hiatus, British indie rock group Bloc Party is touring once again. The band played the House of Blues on Sept. 14, showcasing its new album “Four” (2012).
Bloc Party has released four albums since forming in 2003 and each has an incredibly different sound. This makes its live shows intriguing because the energy and atmosphere of the concert can change completely depending on which albums they draw from. Bloc Party’s choices range dramatically from their debut album, “Silent Alarm” (2005), to the electronically driven “Intimacy” (2008).
This show started with two songs from “Four,” an intensely guitar−based album that, though lacking the creativity of Bloc Party’s first album, compensates with its incredible energy. “Four’s” first single, “Octopus,” was a fitting starter for the show, and the band instantly projected the manic energy that makes their shows notorious. Lead guitarist Russell Lissack, still sporting the same side−swept fringe that he made famous almost 10 years ago, went all−out with bizarre but compelling guitar riffs of the song. His sound skirted the line between electronic and purely electric guitar−based.
After a fast−paced rendition of another new song, “3x3,” the band turned to its second album, “A Weekend in the City” (2007), to get the crowd going with “Hunting for Witches.” The song received screams of approval and recognition from the audience.
The first song Bloc Party played from “Silent Alarm” had most of the crowd singing along. Ever catchy, the song “Positive Tension” relies heavily on bass guitar and lead singer Kele Okereke’s lyrical timing. The song’s backing vocals and off−timings solidly exemplify the album’s sound — those characteristics set it apart from the many generic indie rock albums released in the early 2000s.
Kele Okereke has years of experience with pleasing crowds. His natural showmanship held clout even in Boston, where crowds always seem to be low on enthusiasm.
“Now come on Boston, show me what you got!” he shouted at one point, leading into “Song for Clay (Disappear Here).” The tune nods to the protagonist of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel “Less Than Zero” (1985).
The band transitioned into “Banquet,” arguably one of its most famous songs, which prompted several concertgoers to start dancing maniacally.
Kele set the concert’s casual atmosphere by bantering between songs. After several attempts to tune his guitar, Kele responded to disgruntled mutterings from his fellow band members.
“The people of Boston deserve a guitar that is in tune,” he said.
Drummer Matt Tong followed him up with an obligatory, “ba−dum−chh.”
Next, the band played post−“Intimacy” single “One More Chance.” The song is the only Bloc Party track that employs a jazzy piano riff in its background. It was followed by the incredibly beat−heavy song, “The Prayer.”
Bloc Party introduced the next song with the promise that the song had never been played live before. The new track, “We Are Not Good People,” sounded much heavier live than on record thanks to a resounding, distorted guitar.
The band members proved their sense of humor by pretending to launch into Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” then quickly transitioning into their own song, “Flux,” which was disappointingly weak live. Happily, they compensated for the letdown by finishing with “Helicopter” — a longtime fan favorite.
Bloc Party may be past its prime, but the band’s recent music is still worth listening to. The group definitely knows how to put on a good live show. The musicians’ self−awareness, both musically and in terms of their abilities as a cohesive unit, assures more often than not successful experimentation with different genres.