Capitol Hill Block Party 2009 Wrap-up: A day late and a Dagger short…


First off I want to give a big shout out to Karalee Sargent and Brittney Bush for really stepping up and providing outstanding coverage of this years Capitol Hill Block Party. I was sad I couldn’t make it this weekend but they did a great job in my absence! Brittney shot some of the best concert pictures of the year and we’re hoping to work with her more in the future. Karalee has taken on an even more expanded role with Click & Dagger and this was her very first outing writing for us! She’ll be helping with everything we do now, only making it a whole lot better. It means we’ll be writing more reviews, going to more shows, and passing along even more great new music. She’s a great writer and passionate about music like me; I couldn’t be happier to have her onboard, here’s their wrap-up of the 2009 Capitol Hill Block Party:

CHBP Wrap Up 2009 by Karalee Sargent

Photos by Brittney Bush

Even just one day at the Capitol Hill Block Party was a highlight of the summer 2009 so far. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend on Saturday, but what a Saturday it was! With a brand new stage layout, a killer lineup, some delicious food vendors, an expanded beer garden and a secret stage sponsored by KEXP in Café Vita, I can say with confidence that this year’s CHBP experience was far superior to last year’s event… even if for just one day. For those of you who had to miss out this weekend, or anyone who wants to relive the festival, we’ve compiled a “Best Of CHBP” list for you. (Again, this is only for Saturday… we’re still feeling sad that we had to miss Built to Spill, Starfucker, Mika Miko, The Jesus Lizard and everyone else on Friday.

*For excellent coverage of Day 1, click HERE or HERE or HERE. Hell, even HERE.

Best Band to Kick-Off CHBP Day #2 – Hey Marseilles

In the choice between Wild Orchid Children, Awesome Color and Hey Marseilles, I truly hope you picked the latter. With the sound of REM meeting Beruit, they were a talented, energetic conduit into a full day of live music. Not to mention the awesome guest appearance by the blokes from Champagne Champagne to finish off the set. Hey Marseilles offers a great combo of catchy percussion with interesting instruments like an accordion, trumpet and mandolin, and you sound pretty darn cultured if you can correctly pronounce their name. Well done!

hey merseiles

hey mers 2

hey mers 3

Best Up and Coming Band – New Faces

I first saw these fresh-faced youngsters about a year ago opening at the now defunct King Cobra, and they were unable to stay at the venue after their set to enjoy the rest of the bill because there were not yet 21. They have since grown in musical aptitude, local popularity and age, and I’m glad to see this band continue to mature in the local scene. They are blatantly influenced by Franz Ferdinand and have a good repertoire of danceable rock tunes. If you missed them at CHBP, add them to your list of must-sees for the upcoming year.

Best Attempt to Get a Crowd of Seattleite Hipsters to Dance – PELA

I think most of the crowd was a little surprised to see the members of PELA once they hit the stage and started jamming. Did you know they look like a bunch of ex-frat brothers? I sure didn’t. So, understandably, the “Seattle freeze” crept through the crowd and we did what we do best… stand and stare at a band who is trying their best to completely melt our faces off. After a few bro rock anthems, a few shouts of “Come on, Seattle!” and the keyboardist getting some clapping started, the crowd eventually did warm up a bit. So props to the dudes from PELA… you won over a tough crowd!

pela 1

pela 2


Best Band that Didn’t Even Need to Try to Get Seattleite Hipsters to Dance – Gossip

When Beth Ditto takes the stage and starts strutting her stuff, you can’t help but get your groove thing on. It is hard to stand still as Gossip’s powerful, controversial female lead singer belts out 80sesque dance battle cries. She brings an air of confidence and prowess to any show, and CHBP was no different. A definite highlight of the set was their cover of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?” I felt like I was back in middle school. Gossip will be back in Seattle on October 23 at the Showbox.





Best Cover – The Thermals

As soon as The Thermals broke into the first chords of Green Day’s “Basket Case,” the crowd roared at the novelty before falling into lyrical unison. It was a pretty straightforward cover, familiar and accurate. And isn’t that what makes the best sing-alongable covers? The Thermals were great otherwise, but their covers were definitely appreciated. An Honorable Mention goes to Gossip for their cover of “Are You That Somebody” by Aaliyah.





Best Band to Skip – Fences

I was willing to overlook the multiple “pay-attention-to-me” facial tattoos. I was even willing to overlook the emo vibe. But there was no way I could’ve kept up my energy if I’d sat through Fences’ entire mid-afternoon set. The sound quality was mediocre at best, the crowd was too stoic and the music was just boring. Thank goodness for the nearby hot dog stand which offered tasty sustenance to keep me going for the rest of the night. Eating a “Seattle dog” was definitely a better choice than suffering through Fences’ set.

Best Band I Didn’t Get To See – Future of the Left

I really wish this set hadn’t overlapped with Gossip’s set. This UK goth dance band completely tore it up at Neumo’s, bringing a notably more heavy sound to the festival than the folky-poppy flavor of the day. If the crowd hasn’t cemented into an impenetrable mass of sweaty skin, I would’ve been able to make it over for a few songs, but alas. Each person I overheard talking about Future of the Left’s set afterwards was completely raving, and I was jealous.

Best Hyped Band that Really Disappointed – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

I had heard so many good things about this band… they have a lot of loyal fans. I am probably asking for backlash by giving them the title of the band that disappointed the most, but seriously. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart was off key and just didn’t seem like anything special to watch. Their set was (dare I say?) boring. Their record is great, but for some reason it just didn’t translate well to the main stage at CHBP.




Best Hyped Band That Totally Lived Up To Its Highly Anticipated Reputation – Sonic Youth

Sure, some people noted that Thurston, Amy and the gang were lacking some energy… but the people are pushing 60 for heaven’s sakes. It was an absolute treat to see one of the last great experimental bands from yesteryear completely own a crowd that size. They had about 25 different guitars ready and waiting to be switched out for each song, and the entire band looks great for their age. They are just as heavy and exciting to watch as they were 20 years ago. It really isn’t that big of a surprise that Sonic Youth took this title.

Best Sauna Simulation – Neumo’s

Neumo’s was absolutely a claustrophobe’s worst nightmare. As the time dwindled before a band took the stage, the horde of music loving 21+ers crammed themselves into every nook and cranny of the venue to get a peek. After people had been wandering in the sun and eating oniony hot dogs for a few hours, being in the audience at Neumo’s was miserable, especially when those who couldn’t take the 90+ degree heat inside any longer slimed a trail through everyone to escape for fresh air. The Maldives were one of the most talented bands at the festival, but I could only stand to stay for about 4 of their songs before I felt light headed, nauseated and in need of a cold beer. I know the venue had several giant fans set up throughout the dance floor, but that relief was lost on the solid mass of people. Two words, Neumo’s: air conditioning.

Best Venue – Main Stage

On behalf of all CHBP attendees and Capitol Hill residents, THANK YOU to whoever it was that rearranged the main stage. It was so much easier to get around to the other stages, beer garden and food vendors with the main stage brushing up against Broadway. It also cut down on the number of near pedestrian-traffic conflicts with the main entrance on 12th instead of Broadway. I’m still baffled as to how the stage was sort of wonkily tossed in the middle of everything last year, but this year’s set up was great. While it was sometimes a bit hard to see, especially for a shorty like me, the layout was vastly superior to last year’s cluster. But I do wish I had the view (and the cheaper beverages) that a few Pike Street residents had from the balconies and windows of their fancy condos and run-down apartments.


Here are some other pictures from this years epic festival, all from Brittney Bush – ENJOY!










Wild Orchid Children:








Grynch 206 “Secret” show:








~ by clickdagger on July 26, 2009.

One Response to “Capitol Hill Block Party 2009 Wrap-up: A day late and a Dagger short…”

  1. […] I’m pretty sure I missed some. But if you want to see what I did catch, you can see my photos from Friday at Ear Candy and Saturday at Click & Dagger. […]

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