Bloc Party

SXSW Review: Bloc Party, March 11, ACL

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest | Leave a comment

bloc party

bloc party

Bloc Party’s career trajectory can be best compared to the television show Lost. Stunning debut, less spectacular follow up, followed by Kele leaving the band for awhile to do his solo stuff, only to have a Jack “We have to go back” moment with the band returning from hiatus, only things are slightly different and the outlook is somewhat murky. Recent releases have not been met with the same universal adoration that greeted Bloc Party when they first arrived on the scene and it is uncertain whether the band can recapture that magic they had when they first came onto the scene over a decade ago.

What does this have to do with their show at the ACL as part of SXSW Interactive party? I don’t know. Despite the middling success of their new release, Bloc Party still brought a packed house at SXSW on the first night of Interactive and with their new lineup, played a sixteen set that mixed material new and old.

Perhaps it’s my unfamiliarity with the new material, but none of it really stood out for me. If I had to pick, new single The Love Within stands out the most and with the inclusion of synthy dance elements, perhaps is the one that identifies with the newer Bloc Party sound. Still, it was all the classics that brought the crowd to a frenzy. Helicopter, Positive Tension, Banquet and This Modern Love had everyone singing along. I am pretty sure This Modern Love is one the best songs of the 00’s, Kele’s lyrics are so on point and the delicate delivery of that track still resonates to this day. Banquet is not far behind, and brings me back to the old Dance Cave days.

It must be tough to recapture that magic you once had, I think Bloc Party’s still trying to find it and I hope they do. In the meantime, we’ll still have their classics.

Concert Review: Bloc Party, September 11, Danforth Music Hall

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

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There was a brief moment during the exceptional encore performance of the song This Modern Love where Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke looked up at the crowd and gave a most satisfactory of smiles. Maybe it was the unquestioned adoration of the packed crowd, maybe it was the cute girl who blew him a kiss as she crowd surfed to the front of the stage, or just maybe, in that fleeting moment, he thought to himself “yup, we still got it”

The road back to prominence wasn’t exactly a long one for the London group – they only broke up a few years ago. However, if you factor in the general indifference towards the group’s third album Intimacy as well as the overall disappointment of Kele’s solo record, you could make a case that the reformed Bloc Party had a lot to prove. What followed was a declaration that the group was going back to basics, essentially telling all the fans that they were going to follow the same formula that made Silent Alarm so brilliant and apply it to their new album, aptly titled Four. I’d like to point out that another band that had reformed, The Verve, named their comeback/forth album Forth. Why are reforming bands so lazy with their album titles? They really need to consult Fiona Apple or something.

The arrival of Four was met with some divisive opinions but judging by the excitable crowd on Tuesday, I would say it’s been met with some fanfare. Playing the second of two shows in Toronto, not even a drum malfunction could stop Bloc Party from conjuring up quite a dance party that featured multiple crowd surfers at the gorgeeeeeeeous Music Hall on Tuesday night. As I watched wave after wave of people crowd surfing, I kept on wondering – who are these people? It seems that the group has picked up a huge swath of bros since the last time I saw them at a small venue (Opera House, 2006), where there was definitely no crowd surfing. I guess it’s the Edge effect.

Led by the ever charming Kele (who seemed to enjoying screaming the words “TOOOOOROOOOONTOOOO”), Bloc Party played an excitable 80 minute show. While fans have yet to embrace all the tracks from the new album, the single Octopus had it’s fair share of fist pumping from the crowd. New material aside, the heart of the Bloc Party show still resides with the tracks off Silent Alarm as evident by the next level excitement of the crowd whenever the familiar notes of tracks from that record emerged. This Modern Love is just a fantastic song and combined with the set ending track Helicopter gave the London group an excellent 1-2 punch to add to the message they have been giving out.

A return to basics and a return to form, the Bloc Party is back.

Osheaga 2012 Review/Recap: Florence, Of Monsters and Men, Dum Dum Girls, M83, Austra

Posted on by lauren in Concerts | Leave a comment

Photo By: Jordan DiCecca

Osheaga has easily become the largest music festival in Canada. This year’s fest on Parc Jean-Drapeau in belle Montreal, hosted a three day music festival to over 120,000 people. That’s a huge jump from the 80,000 of 2011. It’s a festival  I have frequented for the past 4 years, and I prefer to the hot and dry backdrop of say, Bonnaroo or Coachella.

So what were the highlights and lowlights of this year’s Osheaga? Well, I’ll begin by saying, I missed Justice and it’s now on a list of small regrets I plan to rectify in the near future.


Photo By: Jordan DiCecca


Of Monsters and Men: Straight out of Iceland, these guys warmed our hearts with their melodic folk-rock. They were the first band we managed to catch of the day in the delicious blistering heat, and it was definitely a great start.

Dum Dum Girls: These girls are fantastic live, all dressed like a sexy Lydia from Beetlejuice. I officially have a girl crush on every single one of them. Even though they suffered through technical problems and their set was cut short, it was still worth every second of that surf punk.

Florence and the Machine: Every time I see Florence Welch make a television appearance, I’m left breathless by the power of her vocals, and the ethereal witch-like presence she evokes, however I have never seen her really do much on stage other than wave her arms around in a flowing gown. This performance was manic, she was all over the place, in the crowd, jumping, yelling, twirling, you name it. She played mostly her new album and a few well known hits from Lungs, and she didn’t miss a beat.


Photo By: Jordan DiCecca


SBTRKT: These guys brought a serious fucking dance party on Saturday afternoon in that almost unbearable heat. Highlights included people climbing the tree to get a better look at the stage, security having to climb said tree to get them down. Sadly Little Dragon, whose set was after SBTRKT didn’t join for Wildfire, but their live rendition of it blew the pants off of the very little amount of people wearing pants.

Yeasayer: Caught half of their set, but they were the highlight of Saturday. Playing old hits and new songs from the upcoming Fragrant World, Saturday was a day of drinking, dancing, and being merry. If you haven’t seen Yeasayer, add them to your list.



Austra: Classically trained Canadian musician Katie Stelmanis has had a myriad of musical projects on the go, but latest band Austra, formerly known as Private Life, until discovering another band under that name, they changed their name to Austra – Katie Stelmanis’ middle name. It was brutally hot after the rain that early afternoon and she brought a pretty big dance party to the table.

Buraka Som Sistema: These guys are out of Portugal but generally create a variation of African beats called “Kuduru”, the final product is a percussion heavy non stop EDM project that you can’t stand still to.

Bloc Party: It was raining heavy during their set, but that didn’t stop the massive crowd from going absolutely nuts. Bloc Party has finally reunited after a long hiatus, and we couldn’t be more excited. They put on a hell of a show despite the shitty weather, and I have never seen that many people crowd surf in the middle of the day since my Warped Tour Highschool days.

M83: THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEKEND. I said earlier in the Osheaga 2012 Preview, that come hell or high water, I would not miss these guys and I sacrificed seeing the Black Angels to squish my way up front, waiting 45 minutes for M83 to begin. The unbelievable light show, coupled with the EPIC performance made them the last set I saw that night, because… nothing could top it.  Just, speechless.

Low-lights of the weekend: 

Missing Justice: My own fault. Forever a regret.

The set up: in 2011 there was 80,000 attendants over the three day fest, this year it jumped up to 120,000 people. This required larger capacity areas for the stages, which is understandable. However, they set up sketchy ass staircases that you had to use to get from stage to stage. Besides the fact that they wobbled when you used them, it bottlenecked the crowd and made travel time between stages twice as long as normal. I managed to only see a quarter of the bands on the schedule because of this, and would have to leave 3 songs into a bands set to make the next band.

The crowd during M83: If anyone was near the front and can attest to this, please do. Seriously, what the fuck was that. I have never seen people my age (26) behave so moronically. There was a group of about eight people that were so high and drunk out of their minds that they decided a mosh pit and crowd surfing were great ideas, however they were so fucked up they couldn’t support anyone surfing over them, or stand their ground so they caused a lot of injury. Also, a guy ended up collapsing unable to stand up and his girlfriend kept jumping on his head behind us…

Security: To continue with the rant above, security was pretty awesome aside from this set. A dude collapsed, couldn’t get up, and about ten people in the crowd tried to get security in to pull the guy out and they wouldn’t do it. He was literally getting trampled on by his own girlfriend.

Lessons learned: If M83 plays next year I will lay on the grass from afar, enjoy the light show and enjoy my beer.


Virgin Festival 08: Matt Costa and Moby

Posted on by Gary in Concerts | Leave a comment

Toronto – Well. Around the time that Vik reported about Oasis’ Noel being pushed on stage, we were walking out of the gig feeling a bit robbed. No Champagne Supernova, and an acoustic Don’t Look Back In Anger. I suggested if each person who purchased a ticket gets to punch the guy once, he’d be very very sorry.
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