The English rock band Bloc Party was at Echostage Thursday night. They’re currently touring Hymns, the band’s fifth studio album.
Bloc Party has the same moniker, but a different sound. About a year ago Bloc Party saw the departures of bassist/keyboardist Gordon Moakes and drummer Matt Tong. Gordon Moakes leaving to pursue other projects. He was singer Kele Okereke main vocal back up. Bassist/keyboardist Justin Harris and drummer Louise Bartle replaced them. They have been feverishly touring the world since the latter of 2015 so the new Bloc Party should be settled in.
Bloc Party has always been dynamic. Take the album Silent Alarm. It’s a reflection of the band’s persona, like soft- spoken loud rock n roll. The album Hymns is like a loud prayer. Nothing says that more than the opening song “Only He Can Heal Me.”A rhythmic chant filled the air, “for only he can heal me.” It’s like rock n roll Gregorian chant. The song really picks up at the chorus. The bass kicks in and you can feel the soul in Kele’s voice. Kele stated during the show “when you’re on tour every day feels like Sunday.” I first noticed this spiritualistic expression with “The Prayer” the first single off of Weekend in the City. I was disappointed they didn’t play this song tonight; it’s such a fantastic song. Maybe it’s the maturation of Kele. He attended a Catholic High School so concerts are a lot like singing at church. If you stick to what you know inside, you can’t be wrong.
They followed with “Hunting for Witches” from Weekend in the City. The excitement levels rose. This beat really gets people going. It’s a catchy song. It’s easy to catch the rhythm. This was the follow-up to Silent Alarm that gave me confidence in this band’s ability to continue to make great songs. Weekend in the City in general, is a great follow up. The third song they played “Positive Tension” is one of those songs that anybody who is a fan of the band instantly recognizes. You hear that opening bass line and you just know “something glorious is about to happen.”
Next, they played more Hymns with the song “Virtue.” Kele radiates modesty. This song is a good example of the new Bloc Party. It has all the elements instrumentally and vocally that make up the identity of the band. The next song was amazing! They played “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” off Weekend in the City. Kele’s voice in the introduction of this song lifts your spirit to fantastic levels and then just breaks into a banging guitar riff.
They played “Banquet” next off of Silent Alarm. This song didn’t need an intro. Overall I thought they played their old material well. The tempo was there and Justin did a good job backing up Kele with vocals. The timing was maybe a hair off, I could hear them adjusting on the fly.
Before the next song, Kele noted the smell of marijuana in the air and dedicated the next song to it, “Different Drug.” It was very melodic. Kele stated how he likes to relax and smoke on weekends. The next song they played was another favorite off of Silent Alarm, “Two More Years.” This is a great ballad to listen to with a loved one.
The ended the first set with some more Hymns. They played “So Real,” and “Into the Earth.” At this point, Kele had brought out an interesting looking keyboard. The equipment looked retro but produced a high-quality synthetic sound. They also played “So He Begins to Lie,” and “The Love Within.” They made a point during the regular set to play a lot of their new material. It makes sense, new band, and new material.
For the encore, they played “Signs,” they played “Ratchet.” They also played my favorite “Helicopter.” I thought they would end on “Helicopter” but they must have been feeling the vibe because they managed to squeeze in “This Modern Love.” I couldn’t have asked for two better songs to end the night on. Although nobody wanted the show to be over, we definitely got our feel.
This was a great concert! You felt better after leaving, like if you absorbed some of the positiveness. Kele’s voice will leave a lasting impression and you will be humming tunes all week long after hearing him perform. Good show!