July 29, 2006

That Was The Show That Was: Bloc Party, Secret Machines, Mew

Bloc Party -- Live In NJ -- Photo Credit: Nev Brown via FlickrAnd so it came to pass that last night, after an intense storm with crazy sideways rain and/or lightning that blew through the tented venue, we became the last blogger in America to see Bloc Party perform live, thanks to the largesse of the kind folks of Filter. Reports of the British post-punk quartet's electrifying live show have been a regular feature in blogs for a couple years, and we love their debut Silent Alarm and the various singles we've obtained. The remix album, ehh, not so much. But still, we were stoked to see Bloc Party firmly deliver on the hype. The band took the stage at the appointed half-hour and relentlessly rocked for about 70 minutes, including a four-song encore -- two more than the kids in Jersey got the night before, according to Stereogum. Friday night's Boston set wasn't otherwise largely different than the one the previous night -- both kicked off with the new tune "Waiting For The 718" [live MP3 posted at The 'Gum here]. The ecstatic Boston crowd was treated to an additional new song, "Uniform," from Bloc Party's nearly finished sophomore set. The tune is a jarringly good shouter with a distinctly darker vibe that reminded us of the jolt we got listening to earlier Cure records, particularly Pornography.

The audience at Boston's Bank Of America Pavilion, save for the overly-hormoned teens directly in front of us obviously amorously jazzed by BP lovejams including "So Here We Are" and "This Modern Love," compulsively pogoed, fist-banged and sang along. We were a bit disappointed the band didn't play "Little Thoughts," but we suppose if we were Bloc Party we'd be sick of playing some of the same music we'd been playing after two years, too. The rabid crowd response was a testament to the strength of the band's unabashedly upbeat and gracious performance and to their relatively aging material. We weren't in any position to track the setlist and our cohort's photographic efforts were unsuccessful, but we will update this item when we find some online. Bloc Party's North American tour continues through August 10, and the band plans to complete its forthcoming record thereafter.

It isn't overstating things to say Bloc Party exponentionally outshined their supporting acts. That said, the floor in front of the stage filled for New York trio Secret Machines' short set, which markedly crescendoed on the strength of the appropriately smoke-machined blogger favorite "Alone, Jealous And Stoned" and the final song. Frankly, last year's Warner blogger marketing fiasco soured us on Secret Machines before we'd ever heard the band. And while we are lukewarm on the recently released set 10 Silver Drops, the band's bombastic live renditions of the tunes sparked our attention. Danish upstarts Mew played their acclaimed (particularly in Denmark) and densly layered brand of melodic prog-pop with Rush-esque vocals to a small crowd of early arrivers/apocalyptic storm refugees. The quintet's set was almost too-earnestly delivered, but Mew self-deprecatingly deflated a bit of their pomp via curious video accompaniment that included a CGI cat playing a flute. Really.

UPDATE: The Boston Phoenix has posted the Bloc Party set list here, where you can also read some more analysis of Mew's weird video accompaniment.

Here's a video (.M4V) of Bloc Party performing "Banquet" live in Amsterdam.
[just click to initiate download]

[Photo Credit: Nev Brown via Flickr]

1 comment:

shan said...

it was an awesome show. so worth it.