Capitol Hill Block Party
July 21-23, 2023
By Frida Ray Bones
The sun is high in the sky, the heat is on, and the Capitol Hill Block Party 2023 line up has me all kinds of excited.
I’ve got all kinds of FOMO too. This is a festival I’ve had the honor of playing many times and the FOMO is due to this year’s lineup tickling the fattest strings of my musician’s heart, wishing I’d be sipping whiskeys with my favorite acts, tucked away in basement artists haunts, soaking up tour stories and secrets. Instead, this year I get to dance in the audience and share my experience in words, which is a thrill all it’s own.
The Friday line up already has me deep in my hips, ready to bounce to “Topdown” by Channel Tres and “Original Sin” by Sofi Tukker. Both of these songs, along with just about anything by Empress Of, have factored heavily in my playlists this past year.
When I need a good dance-cry, “Forgive Me” by Sofi Tukker steps in and soothes my aching soul. “Sleep When Dead” is a newer offering by Channel Tres that feels like George Clinton and Thundercat had a baby that makes me dream-dance. And Empress Of stole my heart awhile back with their powerful single “Woman Is a Word,” which, as an afab x nonbinary human, held me tightly in it’s embrace and still does. I’m hopeful we’ll hear this oldie from them as well as “Dance For You,” their recent boogie-worthy break-up song that we all need at times.
One of the best things about Block Party is the focus on local talent, and this year’s lineup is packed with the best of the Northwest. Seattle favorite Taylar Elizza Beth released a smooth-as-silk album UNDERCOVER LOVERGIRL a few months ago, a collaboration with local DJ WD4D, that is sexy, exciting, sultry, thoughtful and a powerful step forward for this local goddess. (Note that Taylar Elizza Beth and Sofi Tukker overlap on the schedule, so plan accordingly to catch Taylar).
Saturday is going to give my neurons a sultry truth-bath when Denzel Curry takes the Main Stage, hopefully blessing the mess of my brain with their single “Zatoichi,” a hip-hop, R&B masterpiece full of break-beat bops and trap trance vibes. It’s everything to me, especially that transcendental distortion they drag you into —gorgeous. Elohim will wink at you with their faerie-punk whispers before getting down and dirty in their new single, “Breath,” that was released this last Spring. Mix that sweet faerie mumble with dirty synths and I absolutely lose my mind on the dancefloor. If you want to feel like you’re in a lot of very sexy trouble, give their most recent single “Afraid to Fail” a spin: think NIN making out with Grimes at the back of the bar. The dance trance is strong with this artist, but don’t sleep on their lyrics either.
Sunday will be sweet and lovely with Louis the Child headlining the mainstage. Check them out ahead of time for some silky-fun, sad-happy dance tunes. I particularly love their single “Walls,” a skip down the street or drive into the moonlight song that keeps my emotions at the surface, singing the entire time. Jadu Heart are truly my deep favorite on the CHBP line up this year. The band’s song “Burning Hour,” now a couple of years old, has been the soundtrack to some of the deepest love I’ve experienced in decades and in my mind, this band can do no wrong. They are eclectic, and never disappoint. Always on the move, artistically, their single “I Shimmer” has 90’s nostalgia and Jesus and Mary Chain psychedelic sweetness that will ensure I sway with my eyes closed and dream of drifting on soft ocean waves that will no doubt keep me smiling all night. On the local tip, be sure to catch the smash-pop of Seattle’s own Flesh Produce and the dream inducing Shelf Nunny & SKYDYV. I’m hopeful Shelf Nunny will perform their single “Time to Waste,” but I’ll love them even if they don’t.
Have fun Y’all and stay hydrated.
Editor’s note: Check out Frida’s Capitol Hill Block Party 2023 playlist.