Capitol Hill Block Party
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Photos by Jason Tang & David Lichterman
As a huge music fan and who’s lived in Seattle his whole life, this seemed like a good time to finally check out the Capitol Hill Block Party. I arrived about 3 p.m. and, out of a combination of habit and bewilderment, made a beeline straight for the Cha Cha Lounge.
There was no line to get in and it was surprisingly vacant. In a few short minutes the joint was packed, though, and I couldn’t even see the stage by the time Seattle band Sports started their set.
Full of fun energy and danceable beats, it’s hard not to be pulled in by what these guys do. The songs are well written, but do seem to follow a fairly consistent structure. I would have stayed for more of the set, but it was not long before I could barely breathe and was feeling claustrophobic.
Next I caught the tail end of local hot shot band Fences’ set
on the main stage. They weren’t on the top of my list, but I had some
curiosity. Single “Girls with Accents” seems like a relatively boring
song when I hear it on the radio, but after seeing it live I walked
around the rest of the day singing the chorus “I’m fucking up, I’m
fucking up, I’m fucking up everything.”
Watching Christopher Mansfield
stomp around on stage and throw the microphone at the close of the song
made him seem more like a rock diva, as opposed the tattooed rock star
he portrays in his carefully staged press photos.
I decided to pile
into the “beer garden,” which was more like a holding pen for cattle, to
try and catch Telekinesis. This is a talented group of musicians with
plenty to offer, but their songs are standard rock, and the
alto-prepubescent delivery of lead singer/drummer Michael Lerner was too
much of a distraction for me to stick around. Still, I can’t stop
myself from appreciating that he is a drummer and a singer.
out of the sun and into Neumos, I found myself watching Denver’s The
Lumineers. Despite my lack of interest in the material they had to
offer, I could not stop watching and listening as they played their
instruments with flawless precision while dancing around on stage,
making it clear that is where they belong.
Fiddle, acoustic guitar,
piano, rich harmonies and bare bones percussion had a hypnotic effect on
the packed crowd, and the connection within the group was evident and
The final act of my virgin Block Party experience was Handsome Furs.
Walking out on the expansive main stage to an enthusiastic crowd, the
duo presented a deceivingly sparse visual. Dan Boeckner has an
undeniable presence, and oozes non-stop cool – he reminds me of Joe
Strummer. His wife compliments the performance with her unexpected high
kicks (included a few subsequent spills) and seemingly unending energy.
have to wonder why they make the decision to bypass playing with a
group of real musicians as opposed to relegating the majority of
instrumentation to sequencers. Every song they played was either good or
amazing, but the sparse instrumentation leaves me wanting more.
Regardless, it was worth waiting for. I will see them again next time
they come to town…hopefully with a full band.
Read Derek York’s recap of Friday’s Block Party action.