Capitol Hill Block Party Day 1 Recap
Friday, July 21, 2017
By Sarah Volpone
Friday might be my new favorite day to attend Capitol Hill Block Party (CHBP), the 21-year-old weekend music festival that takes place smack dab in the middle of one of Seattle’s most storied neighborhoods this weekend. Hold out until Sunday, like I have in previous years, and you might be overwhelmed with the smell of sweat and garbage. By comparison, the ever-present weed aroma yesterday was almost pleasant.
One of the most impressive things about this iconic festival is the flexibility it demonstrates with its programming year to year. Rather than remain stuck in a genre formula that made it popular 10 or 20 years ago, the event’s organizers consistently book a diverse lineup of acts that reflects what’s currently happening in the music world.
I started at the Vera Stage watching local band Sloucher make the most of their afternoon slot with their easy, indie rock sound. While waiting for the next act on my list, Kyle Craft, I stopped by the Cha Cha to check out Eye O’s noisy, instrumental songs.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing Craft and his excellent hair (if I wasn’t on a word count I could write a few hundred words just on its majesty) since I caught his KEXP session earlier this year. With his goth Ryan Adams look and more-powerful-than-tuneful voice, Craft self-deprecatingly works the crowd with easy jokes, but by the second song in his set the CHBP audience was hooked. He played a mix of songs off his new album and older favorites.
Port Orchard native Scarlet Parke is already too popular for Barboza as it was absolutely busting by the time of her performance. She came on stage channeling Diana Ross with her back to the crowd and her arms up. Parke is talented, charming, and seemed on top of the world to be playing the Block Party, and the crowd was thoroughly enjoying her smooth jazz-influenced pop sound.
Moving further south in the CHBP footprint for my first main-stage performance of the night, Wolf Parade delivered an inspired indie rock set that had the crowd singing along as they danced in the streets. The area in front of the stage and the 21+ holding pen were packed so about half-way through the set I walked back to the Cha Cha to check out Constant Lovers, per the editor-in-chief’s suggestion. They made full use of the space with their loud, post-punk sound and I believe one of their many drummers was the one and only shirtless musician of the night. Score!
Not surprisingly, an increasingly anxious and sizable crowd assembled before Run The Jewels’ headlined the mainstage with their bombastic, politically confrontational hip-hop. Their performance was electric, enough so that I felt fully engaged even though I was a good distance behind the massive crowd that was fist-pumping and singing along in front of me.
More Capitol Hill Block Party Day 1 Photos