Another Capitol Hill Block Party has come and gone, and as usual I was unable to see all the acts on my punch list. This was due to many factors: running into people I know in between venues, my inability to navigate the labyrinth of fences for the “booze garden” and my odd desire to stay after each set and let the bands know that I appreciated their performances. So, I was able to make it to some shows, sometimes for just a few songs, but when you have 5 stages and nearly forty bands per day…a grouch like myself can’t cover it all! Because of this, I tried to see shows that Inside Right Wrist wouldn’t normally cover and this turned out to be the best thing I could do.
Friday! Didn’t make it. Kids, work, work and general workiness kept me from seeing ANYTHING Friday night. Which is a bummer because I really like Fitz & The Tantrums. Also, F&TT hold a special place in my house–they are a band that Mrs. the Grouch found and I liked. Very rare! So a bit of a bummer, but I’m a grown up Grouch and I have responsibilities. Blech!
Saturday! Rushed in late from marching in the West Seattle Hi-Yu parade with one of the mini Grouches, but I was able to scamper down into the dark, punk dungeon that is the new Cha Cha Lounge. The room was packed full and I caught Silly Goose’s last song, the Blink-182 song “Dammit”. Let me tell you, they did a great job, too. Turns out that Silly Goose is a project of Jenn Ghetto (of Carissa’s Wierd) that ONLY covers Blink-182 songs. I hope they aren’t taking a piss because I spent a lot of my twenties listening to Blink-182 and, though it might be juvenile, I think it still holds up. Might have to see Silly Goose again.
Trying to get to Neumos was a challenge; first I had to wait in line to get a 21+ bracelet to pass through the “booze garden” and then I had to push through the drunken rabble. But it was all worth it to get inside the sweaty confines of Neumos and hear the “cowboy” music of Brent Amaker & The Rodeo! You have to be some kind of bad ass band to play in matching all white cowboy suits, have a burlesque dancer on stage, a member that plays the vibraphone, enter and leave in a flowing red cape AND STILL play amazeballs songs. Playing old favorites about drinking and girls and new songs off of the forthcoming album The Year of the Dragon. I really loved the new song “Saddle Up” with its three-layered call and response chorus. If you are looking for a party, do not miss Brent Amaker when they roll through your town.
After the dank confines of Neumos and the heavy country music, I stepped outside to the main stage to hear Seattle locals Beat Connection mid set. If you are into Vampire Weekend or other light, poppy music that you can bop about to, Beat Connection might be for you. They play more instruments than Vampire Weekend but because of this, their stage presence was a tad bit…static. Of course it’s going to be when you have that many instruments to play. And I probably would have LOVED this in a different setting. Give them a night set and plenty of lights and lasers and BOOM instant awesome! I’m not giving up hope. Plus I am glad to see Seattle bands that aren’t afraid of a poppy sound.
Hot Bodies In Motion play that “neu soul” music that I just can’t get into. I don’t know if it’s the American Idol-style vocals that try to hit too many notes or whether I just have a hard time with white soul music. I don’t know but what they do they seem to do very well and people seem to like them. Not for me, ‘nuff said.
Back through the maze of fences to see Onuinu at Neumos. Portland-based dance music–who would have thunk it! Good, not my cup of tea, but the room was packed…and yet…no one was really dancing to the music. Did I get there during a slow song? Oh well, three songs in, I pretty much had this figured out, except how to spell the artist’s name. I blame it on being tired, but I misspelled this SO many times in my notes.
Tried to see Slow Dance at the Cha Cha, but it was full up. Better luck next time. Moving on. Back to Neumos!
Everything I read, everyone I talked to, said, “check out Reignwolf” and “best live show ever” and “do you have any weed” and…uh…wait…no I don’t! Anyways, I made sure to get to Neumos early so I could see all the action. The room was filling up fast! Tons of target demographic males and females filling the room, and come to think of it, these people were really well-dressed for what I heard was a rock show. Suspicious!! Anyways, full setup of instruments on stage and then the lights go down, this guy comes up on stage and starts playing the most cliche AC/DC light guitar riff ever and the people were going nuts! I was waiting for the rest of the band to run out on stage but nope. It’s just this one dude. And oh my, he plays lame riffs while thumping a four-on-the-floor beat on a kick drum. What a musical genius! (I apologize for all the sarcasm, it’s cheap and hacky, but that is the kind of writer I am: cheap and hacky.) Four songs were all I could take. WEAK!!!
Down into the AC heaven of Barboza and straight to the front to catch Sand Rider. This band counts two dudes from Akimbo as members. And the important one is drummer Nat Damm. This guy RULES on drums, seriously. Sand Rider plays full on, headbanging, fist pumping, jumping up and down, everyone is your buddy, full on “what did he say?!” heavy metal. And I loved it! My neck hurt from banging my head in time, my face hurt from smiling (very un-metal) and my fingers hurt from trying to take pictures with a crappy iPhone camera. While the target audiences were listening to hackneyed radio metal with Reignwolf, the party was bouncing in the bowels of Barboza. The problem with seeing Sand Rider? I was gassed! No more energy for me. Worth it though.
So, after saying hi to some colleagues, I made my way to the gate to head home and rest up for Sunday. More to come! Until then, you can take a peek at some of Morgen’s photos from day two of the fest (courtesy KEXP).