Making Minecraft a force for good: Philly’s Courier Club rock Block by Blockwest

Courier Club spawn their first online, streaming music event, “Block by Blockwest – A Minecraft Music Festival.”

You’re a young, up-and-coming Philly indie-dance-punk band with a touch of brutal, buoyant DFA label stuff – some real LCD Soundsystem influence – in your system. You just released a brand new EP, “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here, and your promo live gigs at Voltage Lounge are canceled due to COVID-19. But you want to do good, and have a blast.

That must mean you are Courier Club, and that you not only devised your first online/live stream festival – Block by Blockwest – you have given it this wack video game vibe (it is subtitled A Minecraft Music Festival_ that holds several tiers – a virtual multistage gathering they designed and will stage on the platform of the crazy popular video game, “Minecraft.” To go with that, Courier Club will host name-brand acts such as Pussy Riot, Cherry Glazerr, Sir Sly, and more on Saturday, April 25, with all of the proceeds from the Block by Blockwest fest going to the CDC Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Refund.

If you’re wondering what the whole “Block by Blockwest” thing means, Minecraft is a sandbox video game where its Lego-like players rule though and explore a blocky, procedurally-generated 3D world. They can craft tools or build structures, or they can fight ‘rock em sock em robot’ style computer-controlled mobs. After Microsoft bought out the blocky universe and its fighters/farmers from Mojang $2.5 billion in 2014, they added bolder, blockier games such as Minecraft: Story Mode, Minecraft Dungeons, and Minecraft Earth to the slipstream.

Where the thick, post-punk danz vibe of Courier Club is concerned, songs from the EP such as “We All Want to Be There,” ”Soundscape 1992” and the death disco of “It Takes Time” feel as vibrant and vexing as anything that came out of Brooklyn at the turn of this century. “My Favorite Game” slows things down handsomely for the sake of diversity and a handsome portrayal of frustration.

That same sort of freneticism and diversity is what drives the Block by Blockwest fest, where you will enter a virtual world and be able to do any number of things: you can hit multiple stages to hang to watch and hear one of 30 assembled bands – all with their own avatars – you can go into hang suites, you can check out virtual art galleries, play paintball, buy merchandise, or run headfirst into a virtual mosh pit. The only thing you can’t do within the confines of the fest is have a beer. That brew is for home consumption.

Below is a video tutorial on how to enjoy yourself at Block by Blockwest…

The party starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. For the full BXBW experience, you have to have Minecraft, unless you watch the fest for free, without interactive options, on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Instagram Live. Go to blockbyblockwest.com for info. And hurry up and buy Minecraft.


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