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MUSIC REVIEW

For Bloc Party and fans, this is what dreams are made of

An all-singing, all-clapping audience greeted Brit rockers Bloc Party, featuring lead singer-guitarist Kele Okereke (front, center), and the quartet responded in kind during an 80-minute set Wednesday at the Orpheum Theatre. (PATRICIA McDONNELL)

All rock 'n' roll audiences are not created equal.

While a sense of community is one reason many concertgoers seek out their favorite bands live, if that isn't achieved, it doesn't automatically diminish the enjoyment of the music.

When that particular fever does grip a crowd, however, the extra juice it adds can lift a band to greater heights.

Wednesday night at the Orpheum Theatre, Brit rockers Bloc Party were greeted with the type of all-singing, all-clapping, ecstatically gesticulating audience that dreams are made of.

In response, the quartet gave as good as it got, riffling through an 80-minute set with a laudable precision and palpable joy. The band may be nearing the end of a long initial campaign to spread the word about its second album of danceable post-punk, "A Weekend in the City," but there was nothing road-weary about the show that was played out under an array of blinding lights and amid a thin mist of stage smoke.

Lead singer-guitarist Kele Okereke and his band mates exuded an appealing graciousness even when bashing and howling their way through pained tunes about racism, the commercialization of cultural movements, and the loneliness of the technological age. Although if you didn't know every word -- as did most in the crowd, which included many Brit ex-pats -- you'd have been hard pressed to glean many of them from the less-than-sparkling mix, which made large chunks of lyrics indecipherable above the din of big, beefy beats and squalling guitars.

That those rhythms and riffs felt recycled in parts over the course of the set -- many songs had a similar sneak attack structure -- had a deflating effect toward the end of the night that couldn't quite be lifted by Okereke's dry but powerful low register and ethereal falsetto. The audience, however, was happy to keep the Party going.

Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. showed off a smart set of tunes from his debut, "Yours to Keep." With a softer voice than Strokes band mate Julian Casablancas's and a style that is at times both more melodious and noisy than his main project's, he turned in a performance -- featuring local Josh Lattanzi on bass -- that built to a satisfyingly grand climax, which received a standing ovation from the crowd.

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