Bloc Party @ The Fillmore with MS MR.
It’s been a long time since Bloc Party performed at the Starlight Ballroom, just months after their seminal, debut album Silent Alarm was released in 2005. Frontman and tortured soul Kele Okereke wrote evocative lyrics and his bandmates created pounding beats and shredding guitar sounds that led a wave of British acts making jagged music with tight hooks that made you have to dance.
Their subsequent albums never reached the near perfection and raw power that weaved through that entire first album but they have consistently put out enjoyable, thoughtful and dance-provoking music ever since.
Bloc Party performed at The Fillmore on Wednesday to support their latest release, Hymns, which dropped in January.
After opening with “Only He Can Heal Me” from the new album, Okereke said to the crowd, “Hello, City of Brotherly Love. That’s the best kind of love there is.”
They performed “Hunting for Witches” from their sophomore release and then went seamlessly into “Positive Tension” from Silent Alarm. The crowd erupted, singing the lyrics before Okereke even reached the microphone.
Afterward he said, “Philadelphia is in fine voice tonight.”
They went from bangers to ballads and back again throughout the set, with only occasional banter from Okereke.
“Can we talk, Philadelphia?” he asked before launching into “The Love Within.”
When the song abruptly ended, Okereke flashed a peace sign and the band walked off stage.
They returned moments later for a four-song encore, ripping immediately into “Like Eating Glass” and it felt like 2005 all over again. Even with Louise Bartle now on drums, having replaced original drummer Matt Tong before recording the latest album, the percussions drove everyone to move.
Ultimately, Okereke said, “We’ve come to the end of the set. Luckily, my lovely cheesesteaks, the last one’s a banger.”
The blinking stage lights became frantic and lasers flashed erratically around the venue as hundreds of people bounced up and down along with Okereke as the band ended the night with “Ratchet.”
MS MR opened the night with their dramatic melodies and the haunting voice of Lizzy Plapinger, who kept bursting into smiles throughout their 11-song set. Her enthusiasm was as charming and infectious as their music.