Bloc Party is back, bitches! Wooooooooo. After a little inner-band strife and a prolonged break, the powerhouse London band recaptured the magic from back in the day. Their show on Friday night in Montclair was a rousing affair with the fan favorites, some rarities and new material from their fourth album, Four. It kind of felt like the a Best of show with all their uptempo tracks cranked out for maximum impact.
- So He Begins to Lie
- Hunting for Witches
- Positive Tension
- Team A
- Real Talk
- Waiting for the 7.18
- Song for Clay (Disappear Here)
- Day Four
- One More Chance
- FIRST ENCORE: Truth
- SECOND ENCORE: Black Crown
- This Modern Love
I talk about Bloc Party like they are some veteran band who've been around for decades. It seems like a long ago era when the new wave of British bands stormed onto the scene. You had Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Cheifs, The Libertines, The Futureheads and Maximo Park. These are all the bands that got me interested in blogging back in the mid-00s.
I've kind of fallen out of flavor with Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs because their subsequent material after their debuts albums have been substandard. I was a HA-UGE fan of Silent Alarm, it's one of the most impressive debut albums from that era, a balance of the personal and political and firecracker of a sound -- hit after hit of top notch songs. Then A Weekend in the City and Intimacy were released, and thus began my love loss with the band. They just didn't ring true to me, and you can feel the band's growing pains in trying to be a serious rock band. A lot of slow, plodding songs with a too few catch rocking songs.
Then Kele went off to recorded a dancey solo album and the rest went to do side projects. Some mis-communication led to whether Kele would return as lead singer. In any event, Four is the album I've been hoping the band would make -- something loud, tight and unfiltered. You got the heavy hitting opener So He Begins To Lie, the punchy 3x3, the grinding Kettling and the gnarly closer, We Are Not Good People.
So when it comes to their live shows, I haven't made an attempt to connect in five years. I last saw them in 2007 at that United Palace Show that left me feeling disappointed. Thus, then they are playing a block (or bloc) away from me, I had to reconnect.
Friday night was massive fun, with a sizable excited crowd. I was at the Wellmont for New Year's Eve for Hold Steady and Lucero and there was 500 people at most in a venue that hold 2,500. For Bloc Party, you had an energetic crowd kicking off the first date on the Bloc Party/Io Echo tour. Kele took notice and made sure to give proper shout outs to Montclair, which is a little awkward. We're not exactly Detriot Rock City, so when Kele says, "Let me here you scream, Montclaaaaaaaiiiiirrrr", it's a little goofy. I want all you soccer moms and Whole Foods buying preppies to go nuts! Actually, since the band won't be playing NYC on this tour, the bridge-and-tunnel New Yorkers came to town. Oh snap, I went there.
Anyway, this was a fun show with a good mix from their career. They are at the point where they have a substancial catalogue of tunes to choose from. Even the tracks off of Intimacy and Weekend in the City had a little spark to them. Ending with their most popular love song, This Modern Love, was a nice capper.
One final note, Kele is looking buff. He's got some guns on him. Must be hitting the P90X on the tour bus.
The cracking, electrifying Los Angeles outfit IO Echo is tagging along for this tour. I saw during the last CMJ and left me a positive impression. Now that I've seen them in a proper setting in front of a proper crowd, I'm even more impressed. They got the goods for a vibrant career producing expansive, epic pop songs worth of comparison to Joy Formidable with a little Yeah Yeah Yeah soundscapes in there. Lead singer Ioanna Gika has a great stage presence. She owns the stage with her big voice.
I'm never sure how opening acts will fare with crowds, and I was pleased to see people gave them love. When the Lillies Die is definitely one of those songs that gets you going.