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Bloc Party @ the Mayan Theatre, 07/29/08
Since they burst on the scene a few years ago, there is one thing that has remained constant in the many live performances from UK imports Bloc Party and that is their ability to constantly deliver a stand-out performance. While their catalog consists of only two LPs and a few singles here and there, their sound still feels fresh and live their tracks are almost all crowd pleasers.
It has been about a year since Los Angeles was last graced with a performance from one of the UK's most successful recent imports, Bloc Party. In that year they have toured the world in support of their latest release A Weekend In The City and more recently release two new tracks, which have taken the band in a decidedly different direction. The new-wave, dance rock sound that propelled them to worldwide success has been replaced with a more straightforward electro-rock sound. The two tracks "Flux" (released on the re-issue of A Weekend In The City) and "Mercury" are nearly straight dance tracks but the live interpretations of these songs were quite enjoyable and surpassed the recorded versions. As a nice little treat the band worked in a neat little cover of the Prince track "I Would Die 4 U" (I would say check the Youtubes but we know how much the Purple One loves that site) as a lead-in to "Flux".
The set was comprised of a good mix of tracks off both Silent Alarm and A Weekend In The City, all the crowd pleasers were there, sans one glaring omission ("Pioneers"), the crowd ate up the dancey "Banquet" and show closer "Helicopter" as well as the anthem-ic track "So Here We Are". One nice moment in the set was an on-stage wedding proposal, which the band followed with "This Modern Love." Talk about hipster cred for life.
Frontman Kele Okereke, always personable to his crowd shared, tongue firmly in cheek, his "near death experience" of the day's earth-shaking event. Just before closing the set he dropped hints about a new album. If the new tracks are any indication of the direction of the group, it will be interesting to see how they are once again received after building such a strong fan base with their previous sound. One thing I am sure will remain is their always entertaining live performance.