It’s genius I say – let’s start off day three with some serious hometown talent. I walked straight through the gates of the Capitol Hill Block Party to find avant-jazz darlings and 2014 Stranger Genius Award winners Industrial Revelation rollicking at the top of their game. Crisscrossing genres, the quartet had the slowly growing audience off to a funky good start. From there, the gifts just kept giving. Main stage openers Wet – a synth-pop trio out of Brooklyn – put on a heartbreakingly lush set tinged with 90’s influenced R&B. Local post-punk outfit So Pitted crushed it in Neumos, their spacey, scuzzy sound filling the space to a packed tight crowd.
After being blasted with So Pitted’s perfectly creepy riptide I made my way back to the Vera stage to catch The Wooden Sky. The Toronto four-piece plays fuzzy folk songs thickly layered with instrumentals and harmonies and transparent lyrics with a quivering soul.
Everett band I Will Keep Your Ghost brought their own sense of soul to their set, electronic, synth-laden tracks, fuzzy guitars, a little bit of glam-pop, all good. DIIV wore what looked like pajamas to deliver their amorphous and desolate post-rock. And Portland’s Lost Lander walked a gorgeously fine line between synthy art-pop and arena-ready production.
Just in time for a downpour of much-needed Seattle rain, I ducked into Neumos for Another Portland treat from Summer Cannibals. This garage-rock quartet never fails to melt faces with their unstoppable power. If you’re looking for a new favorite band to see live, add them to your list for a tight, driven, power-pop-laced and totally spirited performance.
One of the biggest acts of the day was held up due to the rain – and a power short – but The Julie Ruin finally made it to the main stage for a fun-filled show, where Kathleen Hanna wailed into the afternoon despite the wetness, perfectly showcasing the band’s hyperkinetic girl-powered anthems. Lower Dens followed this up on the Vera stage with their charismatically 80’s influenced indie pop, honing in on universal heartbreak and impeccable songwriting.
I swapped genres for a bit to catch Porter Ray, the uber-articulate Seattle emcee and Sub Pop signee, who had Neumos packed and bouncing along as he invited everyone into his world. This led me immediately back to the main stage for Flatbush Zombies, which proved to be the most energetic performance of the entire festival, most markedly on the artist’s part. The Brooklyn rap outfit came out and announced “I know it’s raining and they have us this little ass stage but we gonna make the most of it,” and claimed stake to being the “blunt smoking, ass grabbing, microphone rocking, undisputed champions of the world.” And you know what – I wouldn’t even question it. These guys were throwing themselves all over the stage, crowd surfing, pumping everyone up. And the sun broke right as they came on, signaling a change of pace and plethora of gratitude.
That thanks came out just as strong in the love shown for indie folk rocker Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman) who stands like a shaman, guiding the audience through his perfectly weirdo world of prankster soul. All swaggering hips and mic-stand acrobatics, FJM creates an atmosphere like a bohemian sanctuary, with an innately sexual distortion. Shannon and The Clams piggybacked the palpable emotional roller coaster with their Americana flair and complex songwriting. Loving their vintage style and captivating delivery.
But the headliners of the night wrapped us up in rhythm, leaving the sentiment behind. Everyone and their brother, their friend, their neighbor was stacked tight on Pike Street for Ratatat. Last week saw the release of their Magnifique album, and though they might not be breaking ground, they’re certainly delivering on their expertise. The Brooklyn-based electronic duo of guitarist Mike Stroud and producer Evan Mast manage to hit home in a magically large way with their melodic, ripping presence.
Meanwhile, back at the Vera stage local rhymesayer Sam Lachow might have been facing stiff competition for audience members but it certainly didn’t feel like he cared. Backed by a full band, Lachow had the girls screaming and everyone bouncing along as he took selfies and jumped the pit to spit to the crowd. He finished up his set with an encore featuring Nacho Picasso, which put the cherry on my CHBP sundae. On the walk home, the final strains of Ratatat’s set were loud enough to slowly fade into the darkness, closing out a successful weekend that opened my eyes to countless new acts and checked a few boxes off my must-see list.
- Third Opinion: AJ on CHBP Day 3
- Second Opinion: Cameron on CHBP Day 3
- Second Opinion: Cameron on CHBP Day 2
- Capitol Hill Block Party 2015: Day 2 Recap
- Second Opinion: Cameron on CHBP Day 1
- Capitol Hill Block Party 2015: Day 1 Recap