Photos: Bloc Party Live on KCRW

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Bloc Party by Jeremiah Garcia

Bloc Party by Jeremiah Garcia

There have been lots of rumors about Bloc Party swirling around on the web during their four year hiatus. Just yesterday, as they planned to debut songs from their new record live in front of their first U.S. audience at a private show for KCRW, there were headlines that the band was “calling it quits”.

From the look of things on stage last night, that is far from true. Instead, they appear to be a band with a newfound energy and a decidedly heavier musical direction — more 90’s rock/metal than the dance punk that defined their early records.

Bloc Party by Jeremiah Garcia

As always, singer Kele Okereke’s voice was the emotional entry point to the music, with moodswings ranging from snarling to aching desperation.

Clad in a Public Enemy shirt, Kele led the band through most of the new record — with the exception of two songs — to rapturous applause from the crowd, who clapped along with the sole older track, “This Modern Love”, which they played as the encore to close out the show.

As Jason Bentley mentioned during a mid-set interview, there are more “muscular guitar riffs” in the new songs, particularly “Kettling” and “3×3”, but Kele was quick to note that some of their “most tender” songs are on this record. We got a taste of that when they played “Truth”, which is sure to be a favorite.

Songs like “Octopus” and “Team A” (apparently it used to be called Adderall, but they changed it because they were afraid of getting sued) are most reminiscent of their earlier sound.

This was such a fun show to witness because nobody knew what to expect. They’ve kept the new album under lock and key so only a couple people in the room had heard it in advance. It was exciting to go along for the ride and experience it live for the first time.

Their British humor also was key, both during the between song banter and as Kele charmingly dodged all questioned about band relations.

The full session, recorded at Apogee’s Berkeley Street studio with producer Bob Clearmountain at the board, will air August 15 on Morning Becomes Eclectic. Their album “Four” will be out on August 21.


Bloc Party Set List

So He Begins to Lie
Real Talk
Black Crown
Day 4
Team A
This Modern Love

Kele and Matt Tong by Jeremiah Garcia
Matt Tong by Jeremiah Garcia
Gordon Moakes by Jeremiah Garcia
Bloc Party by Jeremiah Garcia
Kele by Jeremiah Garcia
Russell Lissack and Matt Tong by Jeremiah Garcia
Kele by Jeremiah Garcia
Bloc Party by Jeremiah Garcia
Jason Bentley and Bloc Party