Bloc Party 3/16/16

(a) setlist

    1. Only He Can Heal Me
    2. Octopus
    3. Virtue
    4. Song For Clay (Disappear Here)
    5. Banquet
    6. One More Chance
    7. Different Drugs
    8. Exes
    9. So He Begins to Lie
    10. Hunting for Witches
    11. Positive Tension
    12. The Love Within

Encore:

  1. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
  2. Flux
  3. Helicopter
  4. Ratchet

(b) highlights

  • seeing one of my favorite bands of all time live for the first time (!!!!!)
  • “Song For Clay (Disappear Here),” “Banquet,” and “Helicopter” soothing my 16 year old soul
  • David Bowie cover (!!!!) and it was HEROES (!!!)
  • “The Love Within” and “Exes” – haters gonna hate
  • no, really, guys – I have loved Bloc Party since 2005, this was a DREAM show for me

(c) lowlights

  • probably the worst crowd I’ve ever seen in New York City
  • set was too short
  • I miss the original band lineup
  • everyone needed more energy

(d) overall thoughts

I’ve dreamed about this show for years. Somehow, Bloc Party was always the band that got away for me. I’ve adored them since the moment I heard “Banquet” in 2005 and, unlike most fans, have (mostly) enjoyed their newer work after the departure of founding members Gordon Moakes and the inimitable Matt Tong. Kele Okereke has always been a controversial frontman and some fans feel a strange betrayal on his part, but I still believe in this band. Though it’s unpopular to say, I enjoy the slow-burning quietness of their newest album Hymns, and – haters will hate – I totally dig singles, “The Love Within” and “Exes.”

I’m still partial to Bloc Party’s earlier work – particularly Intimacy and A Weekend in the City, an album that would undoubtedly make my Top 5 Desert Island List, and it’s clear the crowd at Irving Plaza preferred the early work too. Meaning no one remotely moved for anything other than songs written ten years ago. So irritating as a fan and must be for the band, as well. Regardless, Kele is a frontman and stood behind his work. Russell Lissack brought it on guitar in a way that endearingly made me feel like he’s still living in 2005, but there wasn’t much to say about the new members Justin Harris and Louise Bartle. The new rhythm section wasn’t bad in any way – they just feel like touring musicians in the shadow of their frontman.

I hope to see the band later this year at Gov Ball, and I hope both the band and crowd step it up for a great performance, not one that is merely good.

Bottom line: The expectations in my mind I’ve had for this show for years weren’t exactly met, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t bawl my eyes out for the back-to-back, heart-wrenching pair that was “Song For Clay (Disappear Here)” and “Banquet.” Step it up next time, Bloc Party, cause I love you a lot.

Bonus Stuff!

David Bowie’s “Heroes” cover:

 

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