TVD Live Shots: Bloc Party at the Hollywood Palladium, 11/19

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Britain’s NME voted Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm the best album of 2005 when it arrived in stores, yet in March, NME asserted that Bloc Party’s “Silent Alarm” tour will be worthless without its original line-up.

Yes, it’s true original drummer Matt Tong was replaced by Louise Bartle and bassist Gordon Moakes has been replaced by Justin Harris, but frontman Kele Okereke and guitarist Russell Lissack are permanent fixtures in Bloc Party’s DNA. Lissack is solely responsible for creating the aggressive and fun experimental guitar sounds that separate Bloc Party from the pack. Songwriter Okereke with his unmistakable British, soulful punk voice could never be replaced. All that is Bloc Party starts and ends with him.

Bloc Party has often been a band mired in controversy. Liam Gallagher once dubbed them “indie shits,” seething with obvious envy over their rapid success. As such Okereke has had an ongoing public feud with Gallagher, intellectually navagating the situation. In 2005 Kele was outed by the media—as a gay black man fronting one of the biggest post-punk revival dance bands in the UK, he’s been fighting racism and complacency ever since. Despite the tension, one thing has remained constant: Bloc Party hasn’t faded away like so many other acts and they’re still selling out venues.

The two sold-out shows at the Hollywood Palladium were the last leg of their 13th Anniversary “Silent Alarm” US tour. They opened with “Compliments” and played the entirety of the album in no particular order. This is a defining album for many people—songs like “She’s Hearing Voices” and “Positive Tension” haven’t lost their edge one bit.

Los Angeles crowds are notoriously uptight when it comes to dancing, but the raw energy and laser beams were a force that no one could escape. I loved this show so much that I went twice. The second night not to observe—but to dance, feel the adrenaline, and get lost in the lyrics.

NME’s author was wrong. Bloc Party’s alchemy hasn’t changed. If there was a third night, I would have considered it.

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