Bloc Party has always been progressive for their time. The first time I heard them I fell in love. They were the band that finally matched my dance moves, invoking wild 80’s rock-jam, head-banging, loose-legged, arm-swinging, free-stylin’ dance sessions (think Elaine on Seinfeld). Their songs on repeat never got old. That being said, I was really looking forward to their Lollapalooza Aftershow at House of Blues. Full disclosure, this was a pre-show, not an Aftershow for Bloc Party (they played the Grant Park venue the following day). And in all honesty, it felt like a warm-up rehearsal set.
I hate to say it, but it was really nothing special. I hope Lollapalooza fans had a much more positive experience.
I didn’t want them to end their performance Saturday night simply because I wanted to hang out in the venue. It seemed a quick performance. The music was good enough to keep me from leaving. I was able to evaluate fan reaction and explore the hidden VIP room...The Foundation Room.
Lead singer Kele Okereke was shakin' & movin' his body to his own drummer beat. And that's just it, the drummer was carrying the performance, which is super sweet; he’s got a chick drummer! Louise Bartle keeps a mean beat and sports a palm-tree pony...she’s way cool. She replaced original Bloc Party drummer and founding member Matt Tong in 2013. I’ve a new appreciation for percussion because of her. Men make the task seem easy, she makes it unbelievably cool. The show was comprised of her beat and murmurs of a supposed story; I couldn’t hear a damn word sung.
I feel Kele Okereke wasn’t feeling it. He was just off. It was a forced performance with minimal energy. It was not fun. He looked bored as hell. I wanted exclusivity, to feel special at the "in the heart of the city" off-festival grounds concert. A certain few in the crowd love him, initially at least. The crowd eventually drowned away, and Bloc Party continued warming up...for the entire show.
When Okereke does belt it, fleeting memories of the Bloc Party songs I loved arose. The voice fits the body it’s stored, deep and internally echoed before its release. Then it howls...and there's a message in there somewhere, when you can hear it. The electric guitar adds classic Bloc Party funk.
Chicago, especially Lollapalooza weekend, can’t be just any show. Okereke’s regular talking voice is louder and much more powerful than his singing voice at this performance, and so much more sexy with his British accent. His sing-song is quiet, sometimes pretty; this guy is carried by the beat...the guitar helps elevate, but nothing special.
Bloc Party left something to be desired. As unfortunate as the performance was, I feel the Aftershow was taken for granted. I also think my taste has evolved. I desire MORE: more depth, more instrument, more rock. Bloc Party live felt extremely elementary to me. Also, I didn’t come to listen to anti-Trump rhetoric. I watch the conventions for that shit and I’ll figure it out on my own thank you very much. I came to take my mind off a disastrous race to the White House. If anything, create a relevant song and sing about your political stance. Or, let your drummer drum about it; she’ll change my mind. Make a song that will make me less skeptical of the shit choices I’m faced with this upcoming election.
"Only He Can Heal Me"
"She’s Hearing Voices"
"Waiting for the 7.18"
"Song of Clay (Disappear Here)"
"Two More Years"
"So He Begins to Lie"
"The Love Within"
"Like Eating Glass"
Bloc Party Official Lollapalooza Aftershow
House of Blues, Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, July 30th, 2016
Set length: seventy-seven minutes