Friday, March 20, 2009

Bloc Party @ House of Blues

Last night was my first visit to the new House of Blues in Boston, which occupies the space formerly inhabited by the nightclubs Avalon and Axis, just across Lansdowne Street from the Green Monster. While I had envisioned the wall between the two clubs knocked down to create a monstrous general admission venue, in reality the concert space is the old Avalon, but with an additional wrap-around balcony and a much improved atmosphere. Since I'm not very good at describing why I found it more aesthetically pleasing, I'll just say that it's brighter and more colorful than the old Avalon. I guess dark and bland was a hip thing for that now defunct club.

This was the first time I'd seen Bloc Party live. In a certain way, they're a band that has really snuck up on me. That is, one that I don't usually consider among my favorites, until I realize they've been in my top 15 with their last three albums, all in four years time. They didn't disappoint, although I feel there were some sound issues—particularly early in the show, but sometimes I think that's par for the course—that I won't delve into too deeply.

I'm usually fairly adamant that post-concert complaints about what songs they didn't play are ridiculous, but I was pretty disappointed that they didn't play "I Still Remember". Could it have been because I only gave that song an honorable mention in my recent post about my favorite songs of all-time. Come on! That still ranks it in my top 20 out of hundreds of thousand of songs I've heard in my lifetime. I actually thought it was generally considered to be their best song from A Weekend in the City, their second of only three albums to date. But, not surprisingly, the most well received songs were those from their critically acclaimed debut, Silent Alarm, and—of course—their recent hit "Mercury".

All in all, besides being entertained by Bloc Party’s performance, I have to say that I’m fairly pleased with Boston’s newest concert hall. With no legitimate options for artists whose popularity had outgrown the roughly 600 capacity Middle East Downstairs and Paradise Rock Club, but had yet to reach the level of larger places like Bank of America Pavilion, nightclubs that moonlighted as music venues were their only choices. Now, it appears that there is finally a worthy mid-size concert venue in Boston. All I can say is, it’s about time.

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