Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bloc Party @ Vogue -- 09/29/12

It's been three years since Bloc Party last took the stage in Vancouver, but they made a triumphant return at the Vogue Theatre promoting their first new album in four years, appropriately titled Four.

Opening the night was Ceremony, a punk band from California. They played hard, fast, loud -- and a little bit sloppy -- and all their songs sounded pretty much the same to me. With seemingly limitless energy, the members were jumping, trashing and high-kicking around the stage, especially the lead singer who, unencumbered by an instrument, at one point putting a chair around his head, and another jumping into the crowd to try and instigate a mosh pit. And while I fully admit, punk is not necessarily my "forte", they seemed to hit a lot of the tropes or cliches of a punk band. They were a bit of an odd choice for openers, and I didn't really get into them (and it seemed a fair amount of the crowd shared my opinion) but I've seen worse.

Then as the house lights dimmed, the stage lights came up and an electronic beat filled the theatre as the four members of Bloc Party took the stage, immediately launching into "So He Begins To Lie", the first song from Four. Starting with a high energy right off the bat, front man Kele Okereke got the crowd moving and clapping along from the first song, and never looked back. It was the last show of the tour, and they were determined to make it the best. And the Vancouver crowd was more than willing to oblige, singing along (hopefully in a faux-British accent, like I was) not only to the hits like "Banquet" or "Helicopter", but even some of the deeper cuts, like "One More Chance".
Weaving through most of their catalogue, they played for just about an hour, "ending" with a rager that finishes the new album, "We Are Not Alone" before coming back out for a couple songs; the calm and beautiful "Blue Light" and teasing the chorus of Rihanna's "We Found Love" before launching into the infinitely danceable "Flux". They did another fake-out-ending, back for a second encore to end off the whole night with the slightly-frantic "Like Eating Glass", which once again had the sold out crowd theatre singing along.

Sometimes you'll see a band at the end of a tour, and you can see the fatigue, but that was definitely not the case for Bloc Party. The whole band had a great presence -- Kele, who is more than willing to banter directly with the crowd, the amazing guitar skills of Russell Lissack, and Matt Tong, who is a monster on drums -- and their raw-yet-danceable sound was better than ever.

setlist
So He Begins To Lie, Octopus, Hunting For Witches, Positive Tension, Real Talk, Kettling, Song For Clay, Banquet, VALIS, Day Four, One More Chance, We Are Not Good People.
[encore] Blue Light, Team A, Flux, Helicopter.
[encore 2] Truth, Like Eating Glass.

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