Bloc Party Burns Down 9:30 Club

Bloc Party at the 9:30 Club
Singer Kele Okereke tells crowd to "Get involved!"

Bloc Party played to a sold-out show last Sunday at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. The show was ace, as they say in England.

For those who don’t know, Bloc Party is a really innovative British band that mixes punk with some crazy dance beats. When they’re good, they’re good, and they played nearly all of my favorite songs at the show (including several I didn’t think they’d play, like Flux, Ares and Tulips). The band was also quite charismatic, cracking wry jokes the whole way through.

Bloc Party’s first album, Silent Alarm, won almost universal acclaim from critics, but their two followups (A Weekend in the City, Intimacy) have received more mixed reviews. The main issue with the band, in my opinion, is they write three kinds of songs: 1) Super Awesome¬† 2) Pretty Good and 3) Boring.

Silent Alarm has more Super Awesome songs than the other two albums, however it also has its fair share of Boring songs. A Weekend in the City has only a couple Super Awesome songs, a handful of Pretty Good songs, and a lot of Boring songs. I like the new album, Intimacy, a lot better. It’s got a few Super Awesome, a lot of Pretty Good, and only one or two Boring tunes. I guess what I’m saying is that the best songs are on Silent Alarm, but Intimacy is the most solid album all the way through.

Also, Silent Alarm and Intimacy have way more loud/fast songs than Weekend. Believe me — loud/fast is where this band excels. That’s the kind of song they’ve been playing live lately, so go see them now! Before they go soft!

Time Flies

Whoa, is it March already? That happened fast!

Reporting on telecom has kept me moderately busy lately. I’m getting more involved now in the broadband aspects of the economic stimulus, aka the American Recovery Act. In case you didn’t know, the U.S. government dedicated $7.2 billion to spur broadband deployment across the country. The U.S. is a pretty wired country in urban areas, but we’ve got a ways to go in the rural areas, where there’s less population and trickier geography. It will be interesting to see how successful this new grants and loans program will be.

Meanwhile, I’ve been making some solid progress on my latest creative endeavor. Yes, it’s a novel. If you liked We, The Watched,¬† or at least liked the story concept, you’ll probably dig this. Not even a quarter way through writing, but I’m already proud of it. More details to come.

By the way, if you’re looking for some new music, check out Glasvegas. They’re from Scotland, and put out a fantastic debut CD earlier this year. I’d describe their sound as somewhere in between The Raveonettes and U2 (“Sunday Bloody Sunday” era). I’m planning to see them live in DC at the Black Cat later this month.