When Bloc Party announced to back-to-back dates at the 9:30 Club over the summer, it seemed a bit ambitious. The London quartet had not put out an album in four years after a prolific three-album period. Bloc Party didn’t do the usual trick of announcing one night, waiting for it to sell out, and then announcing a second night. They announced both nights Sunday and Monday together.
The first night sold out and then weeks before the performance so did the second night. The closer the dates came, the more buzz grew from people I know. My oldest friend Doug, a diehard Bloc Party fan, was leading the buzz in my ears. He was confident that lead singer Kele Okereke and crew were going to hit the musical ball out of the 9:30 park — and this despite his lukewarm reaction to the band’s fourth album, Four, which dropped a month before they appeared in Washington to promote it.
But the genius of Bloc Party is that they know what works and when it works. Okereke for all of his vocal energy radiates a quiet calm when he’s not jumping around to his own post-punk compositions. The band’s smart use of their fourth album songs and a reliance on their most popular tunes quickly allayed any fears I had that these guys may have lost their spark. It clearly has remained there all along.