Bloc Party at the House of Blues

Lansdowne Street flooded last night for Bloc Party’s show at the House of Blues in a flurry of fans both new and old. The London based rockers just released their fourth studio album last month – aptly named Four.

Opening for Bloc Party was American hardcore punk band Ceremony. As soon as the lights dimmed and their set began – an ’80s punk vibe took over the house. Singer Ross Farrar was on his game in full swing – literally as he threw in microphone tricks between screams (but couldn’t quite pull it off like Adam Lazzara). Ceremony credits Joy Division as one of their central influences and it definitely showed in bassist’s Andy Nelson’s hard hitting riffs. The crowd’s response to ceremony was lack-luster – most likely due to the range of ages in attendance last night (teens to 40s). The lights faded at the end of their set and the house echoed in cheers for Bloc Party to take the stage next.

After a swift set change, several strobe lights came on in rhythmic flashes with a heavy bass dance beat. Singer and resident showman Kele Okereke took the stage in casual clothes fit for a day at the gym front and center throwing his hands up in the air to a roaring crowd. Okereke didn’t have to say a word – a couple years had passed since Bloc Party last hit Boston, the crowd was ready to kick the set off right away.

Bloc Party’s jam-packed set started off with a taste of Four with “Octopus.” Guitarist Russel Lissack’s electric and high-paced riffs intertwined with Okereke’s falsetto vocals as the track begins and then transitions into a steady beat provided by drummer Matt Tong. The set kept the energy high for many tracks to come and the main floor of the house turned into a jiving and pulsating mob. Following tracks included “Hunting For Witches” off of the sophomore release A Weekend In the City and “Positive Tension” off of  their debut album Silent Alarm.

Every once in a while you see a front man who has charm down to a science, Okereke is one of them (and his British accent doesn’t hurt). He casually introduced songs with a short anecdote or a joke. “This next song dear Boston is about doing the right thing even when it’s difficult,” Okereke said when introducing “Kettling” off of Four. “You know what I mean. Remember the tea party?”

The first half of the set rounded off with “Four,” “Banquet,” and “One More Chance.” Not only was Okereke a front man with stage presence, he was also able to lead and instruct the crowd with ease. Several tracks were kicked off with the whole house clapping along with Okereke and Lissack’s direction. The band overall was phenomenal but Tong’s drumming was a standout. After a two minute intermission, the band began the second half of the set with a track off of Four that has never been played live before “We Are Not Good People.”

For the older Bloc Party fans in the crowd (of which there were many), the band sprinkled in some classics into the set list like “This Modern Love” and closed out the night with a charged rendition of “Helicopter.” As the house lights came on, fans excitedly crowded into the Kenmore T Station all sporting their new Bloc Party t-shirts like a wave of free ad space for the band that dissipated throughout the city.


By Jeeyoon Kim
Photos by Nina Corcoran

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