Block Party: Hazy memories from the weekend…

photo by Space.boy

I’ve been going to the Capitol Hill Block Party (CHBP) for as long as I can remember, at least as far back that I remember it being a hell of a lot smaller. Boy do things change. Despite it’s increasing popularity, for it’s size (30,000+ over the 3 day weekend), CHBP still does a decent job of feeling like a strictly local festival. Almost like a really big BBQ with all of your friends. With at least 50 of the 80+ bands in attendance from Seattle, it’s clear festival organizers made sure there was a little something for everyone. Admittedly, the line-up was a little Hip-Hop heavy this year for my own personal taste, but I don’t mind too much. In fact, I’m all for having a little extra this year. Acts like Blue Scholars, Shabazz Palaces, Macklemore, and even Mad Rad deserve their place on the big stage and I’m all for showcasing our best and brightest. In case you haven’t noticed, NW Hip-Hop is pretty damn hot.


“Damn, a lot of hands in the air”

“Pot smoke everywhere”

“Macklemore has the early crowd hopping”

Those were my first journal entries of the weekend, and it was only 4:00 PM. I had 3 days ahead of me so I wasn’t getting too excited, but things were off to a pretty good start. For a music journalist, the 1st day of any multi-day festival begins much the same – find the guest list/press line, pick-up my credentials, whip out the schedule, and start getting the lay of the land. For me the questions are: 1) where are the stages? 2) where is KEXP holed-up at? 3) where are my peeps? 4) where is the booze? (there is usually a correlation between 3 and 4). My goal was about 30-40 bands for the weekend, I may have come close to reaching that.

Day 1

This was the day that everyone wanted to see. The day that SOLD OUT early and had people scrambling for tickets. Hell, I even had people bugging me for access (as if I could help…). With bands like MGMT, Holy Fuck, Yeasayer, Shabazz Palaces, and Bear in Heaven playing just on the main-stage alone, this was easily the most hyped day of the festival and a fantastic kick-off to the weekend.

My favorite performance of the day: Hard to pick just one so I’ll give you 3 – Holy Fuck on the main-stage. I saw them last year in the Bumbershoot secret music lounge so I knew to expect greatness – they didn’t disappoint. Bear in Heaven in the kexp/cafe vita bean room, these were like private performances in your living room throughout the weekend. For a warehouse bean room this sounded pretty amazing to me. And I can’t forget to mention The Absolute Monarchs at the Cha Cha.

Worse “diss” of the weekend: Yeasayer on Congressman Jay Inslee after being introduced as “The Yeasayers”. I guess this is a good lesson on why politics and music aren’t a good match. Ouch!

Best beverage of the day: Iced Coffee in the Cafe Vita/KEXP bean room.

Most disappointing set of the day: Shabazz Palaces – Blame the sound or whatever, this wasn’t what I had hoped for. I know I’m not alone on this one either.

Day 2

The line-up for Day 2 didn’t have anything on the card that got me too excited, but it turned out to be one of my better days of discovery. I’m not a huge Atmosphere fan and Blonde Redhead had to cancel, so with the schedule all screwed up my elaborate plan was out the window before I even got started. Is it actually hotter than it was yesterday? Fantastic weather for the entire 3-day weekend, it was hot but who can complain?

My favorite performance of the day: Hands down this was !!! (Chk hk Chk) in the Cafe Vita/KEXP bean room. He was dancing in people’s faces, grinding on unsuspecting festival-goers, and climbing all over huge bags of coffee beans. Talk about intimate performances of the weekend, this was it. Everyone left with a huge smile on their face, including me!

Most explosive set of the day: This would have to go to Black Breath on the Vera Stage. The band played a brutal set of hardcore/metal that had me right up against the fence with bodies flying over the barricade onto the hard concrete below. Seattlerockguy and I were right up front during all the action – I probably took a few body blows for my fellow blogger during that one but had an absolute blast. I could have taught these kids a few things about a proper circle pit though.

Best beverage of the day: Some ice cold Lemonade shit I had in the VIP tent. Free is always good.

Band I missed that I really wanted to see: Cold Lake. I heard they were really good too. Damnit!

Hottest stage of the weekend: Cha Cha Stage – or as I will refer to it as “the sweatbox”. Surprisingly, I found myself in there more than I had planned.

Day 3

The extra day was reportedly to help accommodate The Dead Weather playing. I’d say it was a great decision, almost doubling the attendance from last year. The last day of the festival, Day 3 would prove to be a pretty good one but a sad end to a great weekend. I’m going to miss all of my friends!

Best costumes of the day: No contest, Steel Tigers of Death. Naked except shiny booty shorts, lighting cord wrapped around them, and fluffy animal hats.

Best main stage act: The Dead Weather. I’m not always a fan of this “style” of music, but they pull off the gritty bluesy-rock thing pretty damn well. It’s also no secret I’m a HUGE Alison Mosshart fan so they could have damn near done anything on stage. They sounded great though and this was a big pull for Block Party organizers.

Best thing I ate: Tried some Big Mario’s NY Pizza – not bad at all. Thin. Good sauce.

Worse performance of the day: Wet Paint DMM at the Cha Cha. I still have no idea what I was listening to and why I stayed for 2 songs. I would have rather watched Paint Dry.

Best discovery of the day: A Million Years Ago. I’m a sucker for this type of poppy stuff.

Most encouraging set of the weekend: Mad Rad on the main stage. Do we call it maturity or a coming out party? The Mad Rad boys proved they were more than just a one trick pony enlisting help from Seattle notables to help with their Sunday set. I’d say they stepped up to the plate.


~ by clickdagger on July 28, 2010.

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