Capitol Hill Block Party Day 3 Recap
Sunday, July 23, 2017
By Gary Horn
In past years, the final day of the Capitol Hill Block Party (CHBP) has been kind of a “hit or miss” venture. Some years the acts outpaced the crowd. In other years, the crowd turned up big but the bands didn’t.
Lucky for us (and the event organizers), the CHBP was reassuringly balanced on the last day of the 2017 festival, providing a solid lineup that kept the crowd interested until the very end.
While my NadaMucho.com Colleague Ian Bremner got his fill at the two large, outdoor stages, I focused primarily on the dearth of great local bands performing inside Neumos, Barboza and especially the Cha Cha, which seemed to have the market cornered on punk, post-punk and surf rock.
Trash Fire (dumbass crunkcore) kicked off the day with beer sprays and damaging riffs. With desperate intensity and dance moves that would make Corey Feldman jealous, they doubled the crowd size halfway through their set.
Miscomings (shrieker grinrock) brought a cranky mix of country drumming and warbly, high-pitched vocals. They were hypnotic, sarcastic and taunting all at the same time.
Newaxeyes (fykedelic synth) delivered a complex layering of unpredictable electronica, perfect for laser light shows and ‘shroom trips. Noticeably without drums, this foursome kept the audience engaged with synchronized rhythmic dancing.
White Tears & Pearl Dragon is Dead (unhinged optimistic angst) melded philosophical statements about life and death with both rap and punk, quickly building a heartfelt connection with the audience.
He Whose Ox Is Gored (post-pulverizing emo) fans got a surprise set list. The normal tidal wave of hardcore screaming was replaced with a heavy and versatile set of metal delivered with familiar energy.
ex Licks (pointed introvert thrash) was punk but not punk. This band knows how to scream and strum rapidfire-like but they aren’t chasing a specific genre. This turned out to be one of my favorite sets of the day due in part to fire code-breaking crowd size.
With a few minutes between bands, I poked my head outside and caught Diet Cig (joyful kid pop) on the Vera Stage. The young, optimisticm happy duo from New York played to a crowd of frozen 20-somethings. Kudos to the band, they did their best to make everyone’s day just a little more cheery.
Back at Cha Cha, Sashay (queer blaze metal) resumed fast and relentless, a thrashy core band who could be modern punk’s flagship sound. They deserve extra credit for displaying the show on the big screen. It was definitely necessary given the sardine-like crowd.
Bad Future (abduction punk) is a band that you should listen to before going into a fist fight. They leaned into their gear throughout the set, throwing everything they had at the audience and turning the venue into a sweaty dungeon.
Charms (fascist indie doom) was rage elevated, overwhelming the crowd with dense sound and circuitous video.
Select Level (post-hippie fusioncore) grooved and swayed through a synthy set, inducing makeout sessions among a few of the remaining holdouts.
Weaving my way back to the car through a sea of Diplo fans was a challenge, but the weariness of a long day of music made it worthwhile.
There is serious talent in Seattle and we’re lucky that CHBP booked a full three days’ worth of local bands. Hopefully they’ll keep it that way in the future.
More photos from Sunday