by Jeff Niesel
While the British rock act Bloc Party hasn’t entirely lived up to expectations after coming out of the gates so strong with its acclaimed 2005 debut Silent Alarm, that apparently hasn’t stopped it from putting on a killer live show. With an arsenal of blinding lights that could have filled an arena, Bloc Party played some 20 songs in an engaging 90-minute set last night at House of Blues that showed its music is still relevant and vibrant.
After opening with the herky jerky “Helicopter,” singer Kele Okereke encouraged the audience by saying, “Let’s get this party started.” Dressed casually in a pair of gym shorts, running shoes and a black T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of the British version of the musical Cats, Okereke looked to be dressed for a work out. While the music didn’t exactly demand a physical performance, Okereke was certainly animated for the entire show and he occasionally dropped the guitar so he could move across the stage a bit more freely. The band effectively evoked The Cure on the dark and brooding “Team A,” a song Okereke introduced by saying it was based on a true story. He then introduced “Storm and Stress,” a track from a 2004 EP, by saying that it wasn’t everyday the band was in Cleveland so it was time to play a rare track to mark the occasion. “So He Begins to Lie,” a tune from the band’s new album Four, had a real gritty sound to it as did the sneering “We Are Not Good People,” which closed the set.
The band returned for two encores, and the first of them featured “Flux,” a song that turned into a vigorous clap-a-long after Okereke improvised the intro by singing a few riffs from the Rihanna tune “We Found Love.” The first encore concluded with the band’s very first single, “She’s Hearing Voices,” a snarling post-punk tune which still sounded sharp after all these years. The second encore also found the band going back in time and ended with “Like Eating Glass,” another track from its first album. The band cranked up the guitars and really rocked it out. As a result, fans that had been seated for the entire show finally stood to applaud. The show could use a few more hard rocking moments like this one but was solid nonetheless.