Bloc Party at The Fox Oakland, 4/20/09

by Gordon Elgart on April 21, 2009

Kele Okereke catches the light just right

Kele Okereke catches the light just right

The Fox Theater has had a run of sold-out shows over the past few days:  BB King, Band of Horses and Black Keys all sold out the 3000ish capacity Oakland theater within the last week.  Yet Bloc Party hardly sold any seats above the mezzanine level.  I think some folks should have chosen differently;  Bloc Party was the best of them all.  Bloc Party writes songs that beg you to dance, jump, sing along, and get sweaty on a crowded dance floor. And all of this happened on Monday night.

Full disclosure: I’m a big fan.

Kele Okereke, the lead singer, is one of the most charismatic lead men out there.  He has an incredible voice that can sing the tender quiet moments as needed for “Signs” and “Blue Light,” yet he can bring the ferocity needed for songs like “Ares” and “Positive Tension.”  He’s a powerful force, and there’s not many like him.

The rest of the band is nothing to laugh at either.  Matt Tong, the drummer, is fast and precise.  And on a personal note, his amazing drumming inspired me to go out and by a new drum set when I first heard it.  His drum lines are driving and hold the band together.  Bloc Party has a way of sounding a bit like a runaway train, as all the rhythms and counter-rhythms being played by the different members of the band clash in unique ways.  If it were not for impressive Mr. Tong, things might go horribly wrong.

Both Russell Lissack (on lead guitar) and Gordon Moakes (on bass and synth, and drums on one song) tend to be overlooked, at least by me.  This is obnoxious because both of them are really fantastic.

I’d like to give kudos to the fans tonight at the Fox Theater.  Recent shows have had a decided lack of energy on the floor, but the crowd brought their A game out tonight on a Monday.  Everyone shouted along in the proper places, danced up a storm, and kept a great energy going throughout.  A friend of mine grabbed the band’s setlist, and they had crossed off “She’s Hearing Voices.”  But the applause was so loud and intense, the band came back out for the rare second encore and played it, with Kele singing most of the song while crowd surfing.  It was a perfect celebratory end to a show that felt like a celebration of joyous music.

The actual Block Party setlist.  She's Hearing Voices was crossed out, but added as a bonus encore after all.

The actual Block Party setlist. She's Hearing Voices was crossed out, but added as a bonus encore after all.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

d April 23, 2009 at 3:53 pm

hi there, great show and good post
can u post the set list or email me? thx kewlio at gmail

cheers

Reply

Gordon Elgart April 23, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Hi!

A friend of mine photographed the setlist, so i went ahead and added it to the post.

Reply

d April 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm

thx!

Reply

Russell April 25, 2009 at 2:31 am

Hi Gordon!

Thanks for posting this. I love Bloc Party! This was my Fifth time seeing them play and they get better and better everytime. I cursed Live105 for the early and short set they gave Bloc Party back in Dec at NSSN. I was really hoping that Bloc Party was going to throw down at this show and indeed they did! The energy at the Fox show was insane. I jumped and danced in front most of the time and singing out lyrics just as much as everyone else was. Real shame they didn’t play “Ion Square” or “Letter To My Son”. My friends and I really wanted to hear those. I hope one day they will play “Rhododendrons” so Russell can wail those riffs off someday! I can’t wait for them to come back again. They are the best band since The Smiths in my opinion. Absolutely amazing live! Come back soon Bloc Party!!!!

Reply

Gordon Elgart September 26, 2009 at 11:44 am

Hi!

A friend of mine photographed the setlist, so i went ahead and added it to the post.

Reply

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