Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bloc Party at the Pearl in Las Vegas

I don't think anyone would be surprised to find that I was back in Vegas for another "Vacation". It so happened that Bloc Party was playing the Pearl in Las Vegas. I already had tickets to the Police in Las Vegas for Friday and decided to extend my trip to catch Bloc Party earlier in the week on Wednesday.

The Maccabees hailing from Brighton rocked the Las Vegas crowd with a blast of British indie garage rock that had the urgency of early Bloc Party,  and Gang Of Four. I have attended quite a few Las Vegas shows in my time and was surprised how well they were received by crowd. Orlando Weeks (Vocals) was doing a good impersonation of Alan Donohue of the Rakes as he flailed his arms around stage and whilst spitting out his lyrics. Check out their debut album "Colour It In" on Geffen records.

The last time I caught up with The Noisettes they opened for TV on The Radio down at the Belly Up. They always put on a high energy show that will keep you entertained. Shingai Shoniwa (Vocals/Bass/Guitars) had a much larger stage to crawl, dance, and jump around. Dan White (Guitars) was busy riffing away while tap dancing on his assortment of pedals. I did notice he had his guitar signal split to perform some basslines at the same time. Some of the songs I recognized were "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "Scratch Your Name". The crowd seemed to have approved of the set but not nearly as buzzworthy as the Maccabees set. 

Bloc Party's latest album "A Weekend In The City" continues to grow on me. When I last caught them at the Wiltern, they skipped my two favorite songs off the album "Atonement" and "Sunday". I was hoping I would at least get one of them this time around. One of the defining characteristics that stands out about Bloc Party is the different guitar sounds they create during their live performance. Unfortunately, the stage monitors obscured a direct picture of their pedalboards but I did manage to scope out some of Russell Lissack's pedals which included a Korg Kaoss Pad 3, Deluxe Memory Man, Big Muff Distortion pedal, Boss Line Selector, Boss Super Shifter,and an intriguing Pigtronix Envelope Phaser.  His complex pedal rig had some problems during the end of show that made for some interesting alternate performances of the songs. The band sounded great though especially through the Pearl's soundsystem. The previous two shows at the Pearl I never managed to get to the rail but on this particular night I was fairly close. The front of the stage at the Pearl has about six or seven speakers angled up for those people on the rail. I have never seen a venue do this before and was highly impressed. The opening notes of "Song for Clay (Disappear Here)" that included the background haunting chants from Gordon Moakes(Bass) and Matt Tong(Drums).  Kele Okereke(Vocals/Guitars) was alternating between his Fender Telecaster and a shiny Gretsch Tennessee Rose. Russell Lissack brought out his E-Bow for "Uniform" which got the crowd moving. After a moment of fixing Russell's pedals, the band came back out to perform "Sunday". Gordon traded in his bass for a drum kit as he complemented Matt Tong's tribal thumps. "Helicopter" was the final punctuation of the night that brought out the crowd surfers and the mini mosh pits.

Bloc Party Setlist for The Pearl in Las Vegas (6/13/07)

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