Reviews

Concert Review – Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat

Bloc Party at Commodore Ballroom - Apr 26, 2009

This night was full of energy and mayhem. What you would assume would be a mostly tame crowd, per the act of the night, was the exact opposite. To top that off the usually frill free Commodore was full of lights and smoke machines, all I could ask was where am I. The stage was deep with equipment, and the crowd immediately rushed to the front fence to get their places. Right from the get go you could feel the electricity coursing through the mass, it was a beautiful feeling that you rarely feel at most shows.

I found my spot at the front center of the wooden floor, and found myself surrounded by a large pod of ladies. This band as expected has a large female fan base and this made lots of sense, but after a little discussion I found out there were there to see the openers. A little crowd within the crowd was there to support there fave Canadian pop rock band. At around 9pm the Hot Hot Heat took the stage and there lighting setup was dark and eerie. They surrounded themselves in a sea of red lights and pulsing beat lights. The overall ambiance was that of liquid fire and of an intense DJ set. Steve Bays the lead singer and head figure of the band, was sporting his usual ‘fro, but his stature and attitude seemed very drab at the get go. Once the first song was half over, Bays was lit up and right into the set.

Their sound was intense and they took advantage of the house system to pound through every single one of their hits. Bays displayed high energy and some major heartfelt dramatics. The lighting was perfectly timed to wash over him when his jam session electro piano solos took over. A minor amount of stage fog washed around and made for great sharp corner light cones highlighting the very delicate shadows of the members of this Canadian crew. The people of the audience were mesmerized by the band, and every person in that house was involved in loving their style, music, and interactivity. I am sure many who had never heard of this conglomerate, now had a new band to go home and read up on.

After the wild openers left the stage, the crowd took about fifteen loud minutes to bring the plea’s for an encore to a dull roar. The wait between the two acts, seemed almost non-existent. Almost as if after a few minutes, the main act started to flow in to the stage. As a multifaceted band, the mass of onlookers was quite diverse. From there dance electronic sound, you had the new-wave youngsters. From there intense, emotional vocals you had a large flock of females. And from their instrumental talent, you had many generic music lovers there to bask. Shows like this always titillate the nerves on my neck, because you know that a band with this cross genre draw, almost always has a great show to put on. I will tell you right now, they did not disappoint on this not.

Like I said there was a lot of lights setup on the stage and the real reasoning behind it I could not tell you. This is a group that could be on the stage with a spotlight and a still rock the house. The biggest reason I believe for the large setup though was the dance aspect. They really went for a club vibe, with the bass turned up 50% over what you would need and the intense lights to beat the pulsing beat into you even if you had no rhythm. From the moment Kele Okereke the lead signer opened his mouth, you knew this would be a show to remember. He is one of these artists that bleeds his emotions through his music. As an avid concert goer, its a beautiful thing to see as this is the true meaning of music. Kele’s vocals were intense and raised the hairs on the back of my neck. He would take some songs on a little walk and poor his soul into every note. The band was also very deep and soul driven, which made the usual lead and backing setup almost non-existent. They interacted amazingly with the crowd and with each other. This was a pleasant surprise as most bands have a definite ranking and you can see it in there expression which can really dampen a live music experience. You feel almost like they are jsut there as hired guns. I am happy to report that this was not the case here and it raised my respect and admiration for this group immediately.

The setlist was filled with all the major songs and ditties from all three albums. The crowd was more intense than almost any small show I have ever seen. Women were getting crushed, and having to be plucked out by the guards. Crowd surfers were flowing over the surf and crashing to the ground at the front almost by the second. At times the entire mass would jump at the same time and it felt like you were part of a large being. This show had everything that makes small live shows great, and really showed the intense dedication Bloc Party fans have for their music. The interaction with Kele and the audience was as good as it can get, he handed out picks, spoke personally to individuals and told small anecdotal stories about his past in the UK.

All in all this show will rate in the top shows to remember for this year. I know I advise people to see almost every band I get out to, but this band is a must see. You need to get out and spend the time in the crow to truly appreciate what these guys are. Bloc Party will one day be a huge band, and having the honor to see them at this level is great. Happy concerting.

Happy Concerting

Jamie Taylor

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