SAN FRANCISCO — Bloc Party’s latest album, Hymns, was met with lukewarm critical response earlier this year.
The group’s show Monday at the San Francisco club Mezzanine seemed to warrant that response. The UK quartet hit nice grooves and lift the show toward greatness, but the Hymns cuts would stymie them.
It was how the night started, struggling out of the gate with “Only He Can Heal Me” and “So Real” from Hymns, but recovering quickly with “She’s Hearing Voices,” one of its earliest hits, and “Mercury,” which singer, guitarist and pianist Kele delivered with vigor.
Later, when the main set closed with “The Love Within” from Hymns, it felt like a curious note on which to end. Not all of the Hymns material struggled. They earned a stomping groove on newcomer “Virtue.”
But while Bloc Party’s new material needed more seasoning in the live setting, the Mezzanine crowd lapped up its favorites. The night closed with a stretch of strong material, including “Flux,” “Helicopter” and “Ratchet.” Earlier in the night came “Banquet,” which got fists pumping and bodies dancing.
Vocalist Kele referenced the upcoming presidential election, too, dedicating “So He Begins to Lie” to Republican candidate Donald Trump. During the song’s bridge, Kele bounced in a fog of orange light as he animated his intensity.
“You guys can’t let him win,” Kele said. “This song is about saying something you know not to be true but it will get you further.”
By the end of the night, Bloc Party had earned enough passionate moments to win most of the crowd.
Brooklyn group Corbu opened the night. The trio’s members wore square lights on their chests. Their work hinted at potential for a group on its first tour.