Before I get into the stellar first day of Capitol Hill Block Party, I want to thank Nike for inventing the Nike Roshe Run. I wore those suckers all day and my feet, for probably the first time ever, are not literally on fire. Tinker Hatfield, I love you.
Anyway, Seattle’s super-group punk trio Childbirth was easily my favorite of the day. Their self-titled debut, It’s A Girl!, released earlier this year, solidifying the act as a defiant, yet hilarious force. The band recently finished a west coast tour and seemed at ease running through fan favorites like “I Only Fucked You As A Joke” and “How Do Girls Even Do It?” with impressive tact. It didn’t hurt that they played into the birthing shtick by wearing surgical gowns and seeding surgical masks and gloves to concertgoers. They mostly performed material from their album but added in a response track to Baha Men’s “Who Let The Dogs Out?” called “Can You Let The Dogs In?” My personal favorite from their new material was a tie between the Best Coast parody “Breast Coast” (wherein the lyrics are essentially “Hanging out with my boyfriend/Let’s go to the beach/Hang out and doing stuff” and a very rare song debut by a secret band that formed when Lisa Prink was added to create Know-It-All Dad to do a rendition of “You’re Not My Dad.” They merge entertainment with wit in such a way that they belong in the Scott Pilgrim universe, which may be the highest compliment I’m capable of delivering.
Afterwards, I ducked into the Cha Cha Stage to see Cabana, an agreeable local surf-rock band whose sunny, raucous energy gave the venue – a darkened bar decorated in eerily festive velvet paintings – a rejuvenated feel. I’d never been to this Block Party venue, which is severely underrated as a late afternoon escape from the overbearing humanity. Before long I was headed back into the fray for church.
The mighty ASAP Ferg took the mainstage after a fifteen minute set from his DJ, who mixed rap blog darlings with hyper intense dubstep and trap arrangements, punctuated by the loudest gunshot effect I’ve heard in my life. The crowd seemed overly enthusiastic by the sheer presence of music, keeping me somewhat aloof as to what I could possibly be missing. That was, at least, until I was unsuccessfully solicited for drugs multiple times (and even a knife once!). The performance was moving but, as someone who’s spent a lot of time with Ferg’s 2013 debut Trap Lord, he seemed to skimp out on many of the experimental, cloudy rap anthems that made the album great, relegating them to single verse or running through the chorus a few times. Still, the Hood Pope made good on his promise to have Seattle “turn the fuck up,” and ensured it by bringing about a dozen women onstage to gyrate behind him as he played through “Shabba Ranks.” It should also be noted that, during his set, he started a call and response that he concluded with “Amen” and the experience was truly uplifting.
After downing a hot dog and some beer, I headed to Matt and Kim after hearing a friend earnestly provide several reasons as to why they’re his favorite live act. I’d seen the duo at Bumbershoot a few years back and, while the show was certainly entertaining, I felt like they really travel one speed. But I was wrong. Holy shit, I was very wrong.
Matt and Kim have more fun than you at their show, a feat seemingly impossible due to the fact that their music is the equivalent of taking an adrenaline shot to the heart Pulp Fiction-style and attempting to burn off your newfound energy by doing the Bernie until dawn. They toss confetti, Kim shakes her butt (a lot), crowd-sourced balloon releases are arranged; in many ways, they’ve mastered their live presence by walking the line between cheesy showmanship and unabashed love of playing music. Their set is interspliced with cues from popular rap songs, like when Matt occasionally played a clip from Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle” or they did a quick cover of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”. The crowd ate it up. They really had no choice, the duo are effective just by being there.
I was bummed to miss out on some of the other acts, though the biggest blow was Shaprece, whose Molting EP is a thing of real beauty. If you, like me, were a dummy and missed her, make sure you get down to Bumbershoot this year and catch her performance then.
Day one of this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party ruled and is officially in the books. Now, onwards and upwards.
More 2014 Capitol Hill Block Party coverage:
Day 1: Lindsey’s recap
Day 2: Cameron’s recap
Day 2 & 3: TBASA’s recap
Day 3: Cameron’s recap
Photo set: CHBP artists pose with cats
Photo set: Matt and Kim
Photo set: Constant Lovers