Bloc Party and Santigold

Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan, Aug. 11

Full disclosure: I did not see Santigold perform. Rain prevented her opening set, and she didn’t go on until after Bloc Party played, sometime after midnight. If this switch was communicated to the audience, I didn’t catch it, much to my regret. Santigold would have pushed this review from three stars to four.

That’s not to say that Bloc Party’s set was lacking in energy and momentum. It had both, in ample measure. From the second the British rockers took the stage, they were all business, even in a lightly moistened state. “I didn’t think it rained in Las Vegas,” singer Kele Okereke joked. “Must be our Britishness following us around.”

The band couldn’t shed its Britishness if it tried. That’s one of the most wonderful things about them. Everything that makes Bloc Party one of my favorite bands—their erudite lyrics, their jagged guitars, their fist-upside-the-head drum hits—comes from English post-punk. They’re descendents of a genre that encompasses a surprising diversity of sounds, from New Order to Gang of Four, and Bloc Party draws on all of it. They can jump from keyboard-driven disco (“One More Chance”) to ballsy rockers (“Team A”) easily, within the same live set, without their reach exceeding their grasp.

Despite a raucous performance that literally had the floor under Cosmopolitan’s pool area bouncing (it’s supposed to do that, right?) and a stunning mid-set two-fer—the propulsive “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” led right into the even more propulsive “Banquet,” and this writer lost his damn mind—I left the show wanting more. And a Santigold set would have filled that lingering desire nicely. I don’t blame the venue, and I don’t blame myself. Sometimes four-star reviews just get rained out. ★★★☆☆

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