Rowland Kelechukwu Okereke, also known by the mononym Kele, was born to Nigerian parents in Liverpool, England, and grew up in London. In 1998, he became friends with Russell Lissack. A year later, while studying English Literature at college in London, Okereke met Lissack again at the Reading Festival. They formed an indie-rocking quartet first called the Angel Range, then Diet and for a short time Union. In 2003, the band changed its name to Bloc Party. Bloc Party got its first break after Okereke went to a Franz Ferdinand concert in 2003 and gave a demo copy of "She's Hearing Voices" to both lead singer Alex Kapranos and BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq, who played the song on his radio show. Bloc Party has sold over 3 million albums worldwide. The band's fifth studio album, Hymns, was released on January 29, 2016. Bloc Party is currently comprises vocalist/guitarist Okereke, guitarist Lissack, bassist Justin Harris and drummer Louise Bartle.
Most bands start a concert with a blazing rocker; Bloc Party launched the set tonight at Irving Plaza with a mid-tempo flicker. "Only He Can Heal Me" offered a spiritual message backed by a throbbing synthesizer and drum beat. The second song, "Octopus," increased the tempo, but continued the minimalistic arrangement behind Okereke's strong vocals. Throughout the evening, Bloc Party played guitar rock that was informed by the mesmerizing impact of electronica and the out-front rhythmic repetition of house music. This repetition allowed the sometimes unorthodox chord progressions to sound embraceable, yet thoroughly indie. The band drew five songs from its newest album and 10 songs from earlier collections, plus a surprise cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" for the first of four encores. The return of Bloc Party was ultimately a renaissance; the concert was not so much a visit to the past, but a sign that despite recent personnel changes, the band is moving forward.
Visit Bloc Party at www. blocparty.com.