London outfit Bloc Party hadn’t been back to Atlanta in more than five years and gave fans a little bit of everything on Wednesday night at Tabernacle. The foursome has experimented with their sound over the years and recently came off a hiatus that allowed members to release solo efforts. 2012’s Four was hailed as a return to the guitar-driven heights of the band’s breakthrough debut, Silent Alarm. Bloc Party’s live performance echoed the band’s nostalgic turn paced by heavy percussion and blistering guitar with minimal appearances by a keyboard.
Lead singer Kele Okereke and the fellas graced the stage backed by a curtain that glowed to match the mood of songs throughout the night. The artistic choice of hanging four complimentary colored squares above each musician was appropriate. Kele strolled out in a fresh, black Adidas hooded with a blindingly confident smile to greet Atlanta. Drummer Matt Tong chose either a humorous take on Southern attire or prepared for a sweaty night at the kit in going shirtless and sporting “jorts”.
New material interspersed with classics throughout the set and fit surprisingly well with Bloc Party’s arsenal of anthems. The band expertly kicked off the raucous show with thumping new cut “So He Begins To Lie” before Kele led the audience in chanting “we’ve got crosses on our eyes” for “Like Eating Glass”. Kele has such a unique voice, complimented by an accent and stage presence that makes nearly any phrase seem more passionate than it really is. The palpable build of “Song For Clay: Disappear” could only be matched with a quick segway to the slinking strumming of “Banquet”. Lead guitarist Russell Lissack was clearly focused on the task at hand with his eyes barely leaving his axe. Each lick managed to sound urgent and frenetic with his fingers moving like two arachnids on furious renditions of “Hunting For Witches” and “Trojan Horse”.
In what seemed like a premature encore, Kele and company informed fans that was just an intermission and the band had been taking it easy on the Atlanta crowd. Highlights of the remainder of the show included a surprising, but well-timed cover of Rihanna’s “We Found Love”. Dedicated to the beautiful ladies in the crowd, Kele incited a sing-along that expertly transitioned to Intimacy electronic-inspired hit “Flux”. The well executed encore had sounds to please everyone that spanned the band’s tenure. A Weekend In The City slowburner “Kreuzberg” set a laid back tone before most recent hit “Octopus” offered up the perfect call and response opportunity. In the end, there was only one track to end the night: “Helicopter”. The Silent Alarm standout was a post punk sprint and had fans screaming “are you hoping for a miracle” in unison.
Upon leaving the show, I was certain Bloc Party avoided much of the new material, but turns out Four fits in better with their catalog than previously thought. A live Bloc Party show is the only way to truly appreciate how many anthems the quartet has in their catalog. The intro to classic cut “This Modern Love” even led a nearby fan to remark “this is real Bloc Party” and much of the audience agreed in joining Kele’s yelp.
Bloc Party Set List
So He Begins to Lie
Like Eating Glass – Kele lead the audience in chanting “we’ve got crosses on our eyes”
Song for Clay (Disappear Here) w/(‘Kele – Tenderoni’ intro)
Coliseum – one of the most bruising guitar tracks of the set, but left out the squeal of the album version
Waiting for the 7.18
This Modern Love
Hunting for Witches
Flux (‘Rihanna – We Found Love’ intro)