Capitol Hill Block Party
Friday, July 23, 2010
I had an itinerary in mind when I showed up to get my press pass: Unnatural Helpers, Champagne Champagne, Head Like A Kite, Holy Fuck, Jaguar Love, Fruit Bats, and SING SING. The earliest I could make the gate was 6 p.m. and when I arrived, there were two lines more than 300 people deep.
The third line was for guest lists and was much shorter, and for future reference the press passes are in the third line – the one labeled “guest list.” I only know this after I stood in the longer A-L will call line for an hour and a half before someone told me “wrong line.” Not complaining… just telling you how my day started.
I got in about 8 p.m. hoping to catch the end of Champagne Champagne (Unnatural Helpers had finished), but they were on the 21+ side which was another 30 minute line away. In the meantime Yeasayer was rocking the main stage and sounding great, but it served only as background music as I headed to the Neumos stage. It was time for a beer before Head Like a Kite.
Like always, HLAK tore up the room. Neumos was loud and proud with a wall-to-wall fans. People were digging it but the song with Tilson from The Saturday Knights took it to a new level. This was probably the hottest show all night, in terms of entertainment value and actual room temperature.
A few more beers then on to Holy Fuck, who were on the Main Stage. My primary ambition was to see the Fruit Bats so I didn’t want to bury myself too deep in the 1000 heads gathered for their set, but I was close enough to see that the Canadian band put on an amazing show. Super huge electro beats draped and jammed in a set that powered all the way to the back of the room. Everyone was into it and the sound permeated the crowd. It was an energy I haven’t felt since the first time I saw Daft Punk. This is one band I went home and listened to right away.
I’d seen Jaguar Love plenty of times, but I got comped a VIP bracelet (thanks to some lovely Stranger staff) so I drank some free beer during their set. Now tapped by the heat, booze, people and live music I made my way back to the Vera Stage to see what was the best show of the night: the Fruit Bats.
I was super impressed by this smart band’s musical interaction on stage. They have a natural flow that makes everything seem like a fluid rhythm, which fit nicely with an almost full moon shining bright above them. MGMT had the hype and huge support, but this was the place to be.
To summarize, Friday at CHBP was packed and hot, with long lines and great acts. But the thing that impressed me the most was … no fights. I’m always impressed when you can get more than 1000 people in the same room and somebody doesn’t cry, break up, pass out, puke or fight.
I’m excited for next year, but instead of trendy headliners like MGMT, I hope they showcase more local talent on the main stage. And I’ll remember which line I’m supposed to be in.