Live Review: Bloc Party @ The Anthem — 9/16/19

Bloc Party @ The Anthem, Washington DC, 09/16/2019
Bloc Party performs at The Anthem on Sept. 16, 2019. (Photos by Paivi Salonen; Words by Mickey McCarter)

Performing with little fanfare to an eager crowd at The Anthem recently, Bloc Party got down to business in a show celebrating the band’s debut studio album, Silent Alarm. Frontman Kele Okereke professionally yet casually got laid down a groove that heightened anticipation in the set.

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Music Park: Bloc Party @ Echostage — 5/19/16

Bloc Party 2015Bloc Party (Photo Credit: Rachael Wright)

“Back home, we call that a banger.”

Kele Okereke, lead singer of Bloc Party, fired up after performing the trance-like, free flowing “Ratchet” during their 4-song encore smiled, “I told you we still had a few more rockets in our pockets!” Then they proceeded to shroud the Echostage multitude with a loud, devilish rendition of “Helicopter”.

Bloc Party started in London in 1999 and in the current formation include Kele, Russell Lissack (guitar), Justin Harris (bass) and Louise Bartle (drums). They are an alternative rock band with a heady mix of dance and post-punk. With Hymms, Bloc Party’s fifth album, they’ve lowered the decibel level, but not the intensity of their songs. Much of the new material explores personal reflections on faith and grace.

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Don’t Miss: Bloc Party @ Echostage, 5/19/16

Bloc Party 2015Bloc Party (Photo Credit: Rachael Wright)

Bloc Party comes to you via Echostage on Thursday, May 19th, touring with a new album, a new line-up and a new sound. The sound is quieter and personal, that according to Kele Okereke, “I wanted to make something more sensual, that took you in and hugged you”.

Hymns, Bloc Party’s fifth album, is indeed a departure from the rough and ready rock anthems they’ve put out over the course of their 16-year career.

Bloc Party started in London in 1999 and comprises Kele Okereke (vocals, guitar), Russell Lissack (guitar), Justin Harris (bass) and Louise Bartle (drums). After their last album, Four, released in 2013, they took a two-year break. Two band members left and Justin and Louise joined the founders, Kele and Russell.

Although, I haven’t listened to the full album, the songs I have listened to in Hymns are an interesting experiment that explores themes of grace and spirituality.

“Virtue” (which I will call the video with the ‘Smurfs’), takes listeners down a path “back to ruin”.

“The Love Within” explores the influence of religion on Kele’s songwriting. One influence for the song was Stevie Wonder, who said “…the nature of religion wasn’t about god, or allah, it’s about handing yourself over and making space for the divine.”

Of course, Bloc Party should also be ready to play their classic songs, like “Banquet” and “Helicopter” from Silent Alarm.

Get your tickets now!

Bloc Party
w/ The Vaccines, Oscar
Thursday, May 19
Doors @ 7:00pm
All ages