In big cities like Boston, block parties are a pretty common occurrence. In fact, this summer, every Thursday night, organizers of the recently completed Boston Calling Music Festival are throwing sponsored block parties with live music. But on this particular Thursday night, the House of Blues on Lansdowne St. was host to a different kind of block party. More specifically, funky English indie rockers Bloc Party.
Touring in support of their new album “Hymns” – their first album in four years – the London four piece managed to draw a more than respectable crowd for a night full of bad dancing and authentic 2000’s Brit-rock. The show was the final date of a thirteen stop headline run that began in mid May. Kicking the night off with a new track, Bloc Party took the stage and immediately launched into “Virtue” the most recent single from the album. Their eighteen song set, complete with two separate encores would incorporate songs from each of the band’s five studio albums.
Several of the songs were spiced up by adding some short cover intro snippets such as “I’ve Been Tired” by the Pixies and “I Would Die 4 U” by Prince. A particular high point in the show was the playing of “Helicopter” during the first encore, “Helicopter” is the band’s highest charting US-single reaching number five on the Dance charts back in 2006.
For most of the night all eyes were on lively frontman Kele Okereke who danced about the stage, mic in hand, commanding the crowd – that is whenever he wasn’t laying down guitar licks – throughout the whole set. Long time guitarist and only other constant member Russell Lissack laid down plenty of licks and solos, accented by the impressive assortment of pedals on the multiple pedal boards at his feet, those guitar effects are a big part of Bloc Party’s core dance-rock indie sound. The band’s newest members, bassist Justin Harris and drummer Louise Bartle still appear to be getting their footing playing live with the band, but certainly didn’t miss a beat, with Harris even breaking out the saxophone multiple times during the set.
The second encore was completed with the song “Like Eating Glass” another fan favorite from the band’s 2004 debut album “Silent Alarm.” Bloc Party put House of Blues’ massive disco ball to use more than a few times during the night, creating a fun, dance-the-night-away vibe giving the a crowd a chance to start their weekend early.
While indoor block parties probably won’t become a thing in Boston anytime soon, anyone in attendance at Thursday night’s concert surely will be hoping they won’t have to wait another four years for their next look at this Bloc Party.
Opening Thursday’s show was the wonderfully 80’s flavored synth pop group MS MR. Their set was an appropriate pre-cursor to the dance party Bloc Party would end up putting on. MS MR played cuts from their two studio albums, including the 2015 release “How Does It Feel?” Last fall the group sold out Boston’s Royale Nightclub on a headline run, and will likely be back at the House of Blues for a headline show of their own in no time.