Blockhead Concert at the King-King’s Hollywood -2014
I simply can’t get enough Blockhead. My adoration boarders on obsession at times. His combination of melancholy vocals and dark, moody beats, paired with the sound of longing brass horns, had me hooked from the first note. Music by Cavelight is probably one of my favorite electronic albums of all time. That’s a pretty bold statement, considering the vast number of excellent albums out there. But I think it accurately reflects my infatuation with his music. Describing Blockhead to someone is nearly impossible. It’s music that I can get down and dirty to on the dance floor, yet it’s my favorite dinner background soundtrack. I’d like to challenge anyone who says that they aren’t into electronic music to listen to just one Blockhead album and see if they don’t change their mind. Sure it’s niche-y. But the deep, rich combinations of sound that he plays with offers something for everybody, down-tempo hip-hop beats, vintage-esque vocal samples, up-tempo breakbeats, electric guitars and jazz riffs. Blockhead is approachable and broad enough for new listeners, yet he is constantly improving and enriching his sound, giving veteran listeners something new with each album release.
I was beyond excited when I saw he was FINALLY coming to Los Angeles this month to perform at the King King. My boyfriend and I snatched up tickets immediately. Although sadly, it didn’t look like that was necessary. The small, unground venue was full, but definitely not packed. I have wanted to see Blockhead in Los Angeles for years. His touring schedule doesn’t often bring him to the West Coast. I was interested to see what type of crowd would show up. It looked like most the people there were simply going to the King King for live music and a dancing scene on a Thursday night, but there were definitely some true Blockhead fans there as well. The girl in line behind me and been planning on purchasing tickets until she called into a local radio station and won some. By the time Blockhead came on, the energy was already high, thanks to Thriftworks, an experimental electronic music producer who proved to be an excellent choice for an opener. His artistic, up-tempo beat-crafting was the perfect introduction for Blockhead. Blockhead won the crowd over immediately with classics from The Music Scene and continued to keep the crowed on their feet for the entire night. The only lull in the evening is when he devoted a song or two to some pop-y sounding R&B vocal samples, that I could have done without. Apparently the crowd agreed with me, as I could tell quite a few people stopped dancing. But that was only a short interlude and soon his signature edgy electronics, weaved with alternating slow to up-tempo backbeats and wild synths started back up and the crowd pick up just where they left off.
Experiencing Blockhead in a live environment gives you a whole new appreciation for his recorded albums. The added bonus of seeing him in such a small venue, like the King King, only added to the experience. Even the other musicians joined the crowed. We spent the last half of the show dancing next to Thirftworks, who looked as though he was studying Blockhead while he performed. Maybe we’ll see a collaboration down the line? I could definitely see some genius coming out of that pairing!
For those of you unfamiliar with the musical styling of Blockhead, I’ve included his psychedelic music video for his hit song “The Music Scene”.