“It’s a Friday night in Chicago,” lead singer Kele Okereke teasingly states to a packed Riviera theater. Influenced by punk band Joy Division and the dance beats of Depeche Mode, Bloc Party has been one of the most popular bands to come out from the early 2000s wave of British alternative rock which included other notable bands such as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. The music has the rawness of British punk with a blend of infectious catchy dance beats. After the band took a hiatus in 2009, there were many rumors stating the band broke up for good as Okereke launched his own solo career which failed to take off. When Lollapalooza announced their 2012 summer lineup in April, Bloc Party announced their return and was one of the most anticipated sets to see among festival-goers. Unfortunately due to the rainstorm and evacuation, there was fear that Bloc Party’s awaited set time would get cancelled. Okereke was nervous for this gig because their previous performance in 2005 at the festival “wasn’t that great.” Luckily, fans returned back to the festival after the storm and packed the Sony stage as they celebrated the band’s return.
A month later, Bloc Party returned to Chicago for their official American tour to promote their new fourth album “ingeniously” named “Four.” The set was opened up by a track called “So He Begins To Lie,” a heavy upbeat rock song that is reminiscent of Box Car Racer’s “Tiny Voices.” Long-time Bloc Party fans cheered in excitement when they heard the opening riff for “Hunting for Witches” from their 2007 album A Weekend In The City. Okereke had amazing showmanship as he interacted and charmed the crowd with his British accent throughout the night. “What is up with these glow sticks?” he asked as he picked up a pink neon glow stick a fan tossed on stage. During one of the songs, drummer Matt Tong’s ear monitors weren’t working properly as he put a halt to the set. Okereke upheld his leadership position as he persisted to continue with the show, “C’mon the show must go on,” and began immediately on his command. He dedicated a song for a fan for breaking her “concert cherry.” “I wish this next one was sweet, but unfortunately it’s going to be a rough one,” he joked to the crowd. “Man…we still got it!”
The first half of the set was filled with new tunes off the album. Any old time Bloc Party fans were getting ancy to hear past singles and older material as they continued to shout requests in between songs. After the first encore, Bloc Party finally gave the crowd what they wanted as they played their first single “Banquet” from their 2005 critically acclaimed album Silent Alarm. The Riviera turned into a huge dance party that required no DJ or dubstep bass drops as the theatre danced to the indie dance riffs that made them fall in love with Bloc Party in the first place. Pumped after dancing, the crowd-surfers began to pop up during “This Modern Love,” which made Okereke grin because it’s not really an intense song to crowd-surf to, but either way it pleased the lead singer. The band led into their second encore by opening up with the first half of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and transitioned into “Flux.” They closed their show with their final hit “Helicopter,” which garnered major popularity for being featured in Guitar Hero II. There was a little hiccup between the second verse going into the pre-chorus, but Okereke smiled and re-sang the line again as he smiled at his other band members for recovering from their mistake.
I can honestly say, Bloc Party’s show has been one of the best concerts I’ve been to. The energy was amazing from both the crowd and the band. Bloc Party’s laidback and approachable personality shows that even with years of success, they are still the same down-to earth blokes from London who hang out at the pubs – which so happen to play the world’s biggest festivals.
So He Begins To Lie
Hunting For Witches
Song For Clay
We Are Not Good People
This Modern Love
Tagged as: bloc party. the riviera. chicago. indie rock. Kele Okereke.
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