Bloc Party played a killer show at the Ogden Theater in Denver on Tuesday (January 22nd) to a severely stoned audience. (I’ve never seen and smelled that much cannabis at a concert before. Even singer, Kele Okereke, commented on it saying, “Good times! This next one is for the stoners.”)
The band has come a long way since their hit debut album “Silent Alarm.” They’ve evolved from fun indie pop to complex and, strangely enough, heavy rock. I knew they rocked, but I had no idea they rocked. Bloc Party tore it up with punkish, almost metal thrashing, with songs from their fourth studio album “Four” and even some new tunes. When I first played the CD, I was immediately stunned by the shift in their sound since their hiatus after 2008’s “Intimacy,” pleasantly so. While half the songs have the same robotic, 8th note indie vibe that first grabbed our attention back in 2005, the other half showed a whole new side to these British indies. (At one point, Okereke even encouraged Denver to break out their fight to get down to a song.) This may be due in part to the album’s producer, Alex Newport, who had worked with At The Drive-In.
While these new, heavier songs got the crowd jumping, their classics were just as exciting. They played “Banquet,” “Modern Love,” and, of course, “Helicopter.” But what really melted faces was “Positive Tension,” wherein Okereke let the audience scream all together in a mad frenzy the last line leading up to the insane solo: “So fucking useless!” It was bloody brilliant, and I’m pretty sure I moaned out loud.
While “Silent Alarm” certainly put them on the musical map, I was happy to see they didn’t pander to it, that or only play songs trying to promote their newest album. The set list was a nice selection from each album. It was a real shock was when they broke out “Flux,” which was only released as a bonus track, telling all the girls to sing along — which they did. That’s the nice thing about Bloc Party’s albums, each one brings something unique and fresh to the table and their live show vibrantly expressed that sentiment as well.
Okereke was a jovial character throughout the whole performance, and whether or not he actually felt it, he seemed truly grateful and excited to be playing in Denver. And they must have been because they played two separate encores to an ecstatic audience. There was constantly a massive smile across his face and everyone really fed off the energy, cheering on every one of his Britishisms.
“Come on, Bloc Party, we’ve got to give it to ’em. All over their faces,” said Okereke.
Keep an ear out for new music from them in the next year, and definitely keep both your eyes out for their next stop in Colorado, because you do not want to miss it.
Photos by Rachel Waltman.