Capitol Hill Block Party Day 2
July 24, 2010
Photos by Jason Tang
As we all know, breakfast is the cornerstone of a successful day. Early morning food stokes the fires in our bellies and provides the necessary energy to get us going. On the morning of Capitol Hill Block Party (CHBP) Day 2, however, I decided to take that concept a step further and eat a "special brownie" before heading up to "the hill.” It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Before I get to my thoughts on the day’s music, a little back story…
I fall in with the 50 percent of Seattleites who have lost some love for CHBP over the years. The crowds, heat, and commercialism have gotten to be more trouble than they are worth, and I honestly wasn’t looking forward to dealing with those headaches again this year. But, with my day planned out, tickets in hand, and a “good” breakfast in me, I struck out from my apartment with an open mind and a full stomach.
Everything was going great, until we got on the bus… what a fricken joke! A ride from Queen Anne to Cap’ Hill usually takes about 20 minutes. On this particular Saturday it took 80 minutes. You’d think that the City of Seattle would plan and adjust transportation accordingly after so many years, but ohhhh no.
As a result I missed two of my favorite "finds" of the last six months; the Head and the Heart and Eastern Grip. I can tell you from firsthand experiences that both FUCKING ROCK, and you should venture out to see them in September. EG plays the Blue Moon on September 17 and the Comet on September 25. HATH plays the Crocodile on September 23.
When we finally arrived at Will Call, breakfast was kicking in, the long lines we had heard stories of were nowhere in sight, and we made it inside with relative ease. (A special thanks to C-Leb for trouble shooting "how to stand in the wrong line for 2 hours" the night before so we didn’t make the same mistakes.) It became immediately apparent that the CHBP organizers had expanded the area to include more local business and fewer "booths." Being able to sit down at the Cha Cha, Comet, or Quinn’s was a nice change from the stand-and-eat a $7 hot dog experience from year’s past. Nicely done… very nicely done!
We started hunting for some tunes and quickly realized there were a few line-up changes. Blonde Redhead cancelled due to illness, a couple stages had been delayed, and the acts playing Neumos had changed a bit. Not a problem, though. We snuggled up to their bar and killed some time before heading to see Hallways.
Hallways can be described with a simple formula: WM + PF + pinch of JM/ONJ = Hallways. (that is… Fleetwood Mac + Pink Floyd + pinch of Jim Morrison/Olivia Newton John = Hallways). Their high-energy psychedelic country rock sound was a lot of fu. Grant and Stephanie’s vocal harmonies were fantastic, and Kimo Muraki on lap steel was an amazing and unexpected element. Go see this band.
Next we saw Redwood Plan. Leslie Wood is a true rock star, and she kicked off the main stage in fine style. Her band jammed, people danced, and people sang to their great hooks and beats. Check them out the Sunday of Bumbershoot weekend at the EMP Sky Church. They will get you moving.
Then it was back into Neumos to see Beach Fossils. These kids from Brooklyn have a pretty, melancholy indie-pop sound and their drummer played standing up like he’s in a Mexican polka band. Not to start an east coast verses west coast thing here, but our Seattle Indie bands could kick their asses in a heartbeat. Just sayin’.
When we finally made it to the Vera Stage, it was time for Air 2 a Bird. I am a big fan of Gabriel Teodros and his newest musical incarnation was pretty fricken sweet. Two emcees, one DJ, and a four-female chorus was the perfect vibe for a pre-lunch set. If you don’t know Seattle hip-hop, then you should educate yourselves and see Gabriel at Bumbershoot on September 5.
By this time, we needed a good lunch to follow our succulent breakfast, so we hit up the Cha Cha. Our plan was to grab a bite and a chair and drink, chill, and check out the next four bands playing there before heading out to see Grand Hallway, Past Lives, and Atmosphere. But the Cha Cha was a fucking zoo, and we never made it down stairs. I’m sure Blood Red Dancers, Born Anchors, and Virgin killed it on stage, but confronted with the choice between packing in to that sardine can, waiting around for four hours until the other bands we wanted to see started, or calling it a day… we chose to bail.
We intended to go back later that night, but after some Pagliacci Pizza and Hot Tub Time Machine, we decided we were satisfied with what we had already experienced at CHBP 2010. We’ll see if Block Party is in my future for next year, but my visit this year was definitely worthwhile and it raised my desire to go again a few notches.
Thanks Block Party.