Bloc Party plays Congress Theatre. - Oh My Rockness

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Bloc Party plays Congress Theatre.

September 8, 2005
Perhaps I lose coolness points, assuming I had any to begin with, if I'm totally in love with a band that is currently the most hyped indie group on the planet (and apparently, so is Elijah "don't call me Hobbit" Wood, since he was seen bopping along to the Bloc at the Vice party at SXSW). But I don't care, because I'm pretty much through being cool. It's really overrated. Bloc Party is dreads and shoulders above all those other new "it-Brit" bands. They're better than The Futureheads, Franz Ferdinand, and Kaiser "right place, right time" Chiefs. Way better. They're better because they are stronger. Stronger songwriters. Stronger musicians. Stronger vocalist. Listen to Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" and then listen to Bloc Party's "Banquet." Both were hit songs that make you dance. But which is more interesting? Well there's just no contest...

I've always had a soft spot in my rock 'n' roll heart for those pretty guitar lines that float above aggressively complex chords (think Pretty Girls Make Graves or, going back a few, Cap'n Jazz). This is the melody that keeps me coming back for more. And this is the melody that is so lacking in all those other bands mentioned. It's like, "sure, it's ok to make me want to dance, but you should also make me want to put your album on repeat."

Bloc Party play those pretty guitar notes oh so well (largely thanks to guitarist Russell Lissack). Combine the guitar melody with singer Kele Okereke's versatile voice and you have a band whose every song could be a hit. I guess it's not the fault of those other Brit bands that they don't play the guitar like I want them to. It's just one of my many emo-tional problems. But one thing I'm sure of. In the past two weeks I've listened to Bloc Party's recent album, Silent Alarm, dozens and dozens of times. And that's all it comes down to, right?

Also playing this bill are The Kills. Blues-punk duo VV and Hotel crank out gritty, sneering sex rock that's really, really loud. Hold up, go back and read that first sentence again. The dude's name is Hotel. WTF? Maybe he can hook up a duet with The Edge sometime.

In 2000, VV's Florida punk band disbanded and she started exchanging tapes with London's Hotel (oh man, I can't write that name anymore -- it's just too damn funny) à la The Postal Service. Thinking they could write faster if they lived in the same country, Hotel (damn, did it again) made the trek across the Atlantic. They recorded a demo, followed by an EP, and the rest is Rough Trade history.
Perhaps a meaner, skuzzier Velvet Underground, The Kills need your desire to be rocked by them. And they have a pretty good formula: loud, fast and sexy songs. Pretty good for a band in which 50% of its members are named Hotel.
Bloc Party, The Kills, and Noisettes play Congress Theatre, Wednesday, September 14th.


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