In the Venue
Being labeled “the best” of just about anything is as much a curse as it is a blessing. So when a reckless journalist labeled Bloc Party the best new band in the UK, they might as well have thrown in a first-aid kit for all the bruising that the band had waiting for them. It’s hard to see past all the hyperbole and look for potential, even when you consider yourself a sympathetic fan. I loved the Bloc Party EP and Tulips is nothing short of brilliant, so when their full-length, Silent Alarm, arrived with the highest expectations and the best of reviews from across the ocean, it was only a slight surprise that the album was somewhat of a disappointment. Yes, there are moments where Bloc Party hint at bigger and greater things to come, but the current impatient music buyer wants the masterpiece now or don’t bother making the trip. So reports of disappointment from various people who caught Bloc Party’s set at Coachella (I was off somewhere, perhaps it was Bauhaus) were taken into consideration but didn’t derail my looking forward to seeing them play. In a Hollywood world, the band would have either risen to the occasion by blazing flawlessly through their set with a brilliant, reckless abandon or simply failed in the most unimaginative way possible. The truth is somewhere between. The band shows no weakness in the performance, no wavering self-consciousness to botch up the chords or a general sense of detachment that sometimes can be found in bands that are used to playing much larger venues than the clubs America offers them. Granted, there wasn’t that moment of transcendence into something godlike, but since when was being above average considered a valid reason for disappointment? Is there room for improvement? Of course. Are they over-hyped? Yes, but that’s not their fault. Simply put, Bloc Party could very well end up being the best band in the world because the talent is there and the future is wide open and yet to be written.