Bloc Party's Kele Okereke
Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Bloc Party At Hollywood Palladium
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By Erin Sarsfield
After announcing a hiatus in 2009, Bloc Party is back and touring in support of their latest release, Four. Despite their absence, Bloc Party's sold-out show at the Hollywood Palladium on Dec. 7 proved that fans are welcoming them back to the stage with open arms. And the UK pop/rock quartet did not disappoint.
With the stage now pulsating with a melancholy blue light, Bloc Party took their place and charismatic frontman Kele Okereke confidently walked to the microphone, wearing a wide smile and a Los Angeles Lakers sweatshirt. The band immediately launched into "So He Begins To Lie," a track from Four.
"Good evening Los Angeles!" Okereke declared. "We are Bloc Party from London. I can tell that you guys want to party, so let's get this party started!" The crowd thundered in response as the band propelled into "Hunting For Witches" from their second album, 2007's A Weekend In The City.
Bloc Party's set consisted of a generous amount of new material, with a sprinkling of songs from their earlier efforts, including their 2005 debut album Silent Alarm and 2008's Intimacy. Lead guitarist Russell Lissack perfectly complemented Okereke's rhythm guitar work with their trademark syncopated rhythms, while bassist Gordon Moakes provided a solid groove to round out the sound. Even though Four has only been available for less than four months, the audience seemed quite familiar with the new material.
The highlight of the evening was "Banquet," which was performed halfway through the set. As drummer Matthew Tong's opening beats pierced the air, the crowd immediately responded by jaming together on the sweaty dance floor. "Come on you f***ers!" Okereke demanded, "Jump!"
After a few more songs, the band took a quick breather, returning to the stage to perform four more songs, including the crowd favorites "This Modern Love" and "Helicopter." They returned to the stage again for a second and final encore, concluding the show with a rendition of Rihanna's "We Found Love" melded into their own “Flux.”
The Los Angeles-based Dum Dum Girls opened the evening with their brand of bubblegum garage pop. The quartet of luscious ladies rocked the stage with a cool and commanding presence, sending the audience riding high on melodic guitar riffs fronted by waves of catchy choruses. They appeared to have brought a sizable fan base of their own to the Palladium, a swaying feat in and of itself.
As the show ended and I made my way back to my car, I marveled at how impressively polished Bloc Party's heavy sound was live.
"So He Begins To Lie"
"Hunting For Witches"
"Like Eating Glass"
"Waiting For The 7.18"
"Song For Clay (Disappear Here)"
"One More Chance"
"This Modern Love"
"We Found Love" (Rihanna cover)
To catch Bloc Party in a city near you, click here for tour dates.