By AJ Dent
The final day of the 2015 Capitol Hill Block Party began with the smell of impending rain in the air. Usually at concerts you’ll find me coffeed up beyond federal safety regulations, but I wanted to keep my time at CHBP chill this year. Determined to maximize the rare relaxation factor of the festival, I cleared my schedule for a few Emerald City acts I genuinely wanted to see.
Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I swung by the VERA Stage right at 2 p.m. for Industrial Revelation. The sizable crowd and band’s caressing sounds were a welcome surprise. It was one of those moments where you forget the event’s schedule, your plans to meet up with friends, how thirsty you just were, everything, and are solely coasting on an aural aura. Ahamefule J. Oluo’s trumpet led shoulder-shaking charges, which Evan Flory-Barnes’ upright bass answered in strategic passion. It was like hearing army generals celebrate in detail — deep into bottles of red wine — the perfectly laid-out plans that had won them the war. Every note came to fruition. Their 2013 album Oak Head is now required listening with its jazzy, mansion-sized segways and hidden little corners of percussion.
From there, I slunk into the red intestines of the Cha Cha Lounge, where I would spend most of the afternoon. As often as I can, I catch Great Spiders. This is the seemingly-upbeat soundtrack to a skeleton laughing at you from a porch swing on a calm, clear day. Completely accepting of its sadness, grinning at its own mortality, and pointing at that thing you hoped no one else could see. Beachy beats and pelvis-thrusting riffs transport songs like “Don’t Get Drugged Out” and “Bailey” into poppy rock territory, but you can’t escape the lyrics’ bony fingers.
After prepping myself with plenty of Tecate, I took in Gold Front’s performance. If you haven’t heard them, just think punk meets vintage country meets the Big Bopper meets tequila. Got it, yeah? I mean, I heard a rumor that Gene Ween wants to join. This four-piece could make proms in El Paso extra festive, then play at each resulting shotgun wedding, all in various barns. But seriously, their elbow-swinging stuff just got added to Spotify so we no longer have to follow the scent of straw and underboob sweat to find them. Yeehaw!
After the crooning power pop of Brain Drain and Gazebo’s schizophrenic jams, I emerged from the Cha Cha’s dank lair for some Bread & Butter. Their manic Americana is your cigarette after swearing you saw your long lost love in a crowd. The four guys somehow create, in the span of even one song, the anticipation of a rooftop party and your inevitable fetal position the next day. They shook their hair and tossed grins all around the Neumos stage like boys hanging upside-down on a jungle gym.
At the pinkest peak of sunset, Ratatat took the main stage outside. The enormous waves of lasers, attendees, and pot smoke made me laugh on the spot. I let myself sink into “Loud Pipes” and the chaotic scene for a bit, then waved farewell to CHBP til next year, content with my sampler platter of Seattle bands.
- Second Opinion: Cameron on CHBP Day 3
- Capitol Hill Block Party 2015: Day 3 Recap
- 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