Capitol Hill Block Party Review

Capitol Hill Block Party Review
PHOTO BY RUBEN LIRA

PHOTO BY RUBEN LIRA

Capitol Hill demise? The music fleeing to other parts? For one weekend, all these cliches were tossed out. For one weekend it was a celebration of what Capitol Hill could still be. It was the weekend of the Capitol Hill Block Party. This year the weather complied for most of the first two days of the event but the third day, the rain came, which was actually a nice reprieve from the heat. There were over 20 acts ranging from any genre of music you could think of. Majority of the bands were the lesser known local bands yet sprinkled with enough more established artists which kept most of the crowds entertained. I will focus on the best bands from each day that I saw. I watched as many bands as humanly possible for one person. As always we like to focus on mostly the lesser known acts but their were some exceptions among the more established artists which were too good to pass up.

Day 1
TV on the Radio

This band needs no introduction, they have played some of the biggest stages in the world but what is so appealing about this band, even with all the success, they still manage to perform like they are on a small intimate stage. They have managed to turn their fusion of soul, punk, indie and rock into a mainstream format during a time that pop and EDM are dominating most of the mainstream. The singer,Tunde Adebimpe, grabs onto the mic and takes it on a journey. He dances, he sways and stomps around enraging the crowd into every verse of every song. They played their mainstay songs “Happy Idiot”,”Quartz”, “Trouble” and some of the obscure ones, “Test Pilot”, “Ride”, and “Second Song.” As their set continued into the evening, the rain started to come down, but all the weather did was make their performance even more mystical. Their best song of the night was “Wolf Like Me” which is one of the best representations of the band. This songs blends rock, indie, soul, and punk into a swirling fusion of melodious and raucous energy that even their harshest critics can’t deny how great is this song. I highly recommend all of their music, they are that good.

Protomartyr

One the most distinct bands from the entire festival. Protomartyr played the Vera Stage. Their sound is raw, dark, blues and bombastic. They embrace the experimental side of music to the fullest. The stories the lyrics told seem to be tales of dark times. Their best song performed belongs to “Too many Jewels.” With its Pink Floyd style intro combined with a hypnotic rhythm guitar and bass, this song is journey into the world of Protomartyr. The lead singer,Joe Casey, sings with a punk rock flare and powerful poetic touch in every song. This is a band from Detroit who seem to be the leaders of the new sounds coming out of Detroit.

Hobosexuals

The late night act toward the end of the first day at Nuemos. As with any Hobosexuals show, you have to be prepared for in your face, guitars and blues at its finest. Tonight was no exception. They took the stage with their exuberant energy and decimated the stage. They tore into their songs “Squish It!”,”Hostile Denim”, and “MotherF**in song about Robots.” The singer/ guitarist, Ben Harwood, plays with an immense passion and attitude in all of the songs. The drummer wails on the drums so hard, that the entire crowd can feel the reverberations throughout their set. You rarely ever see a pit formed at Nuemos but tonight, that is what the Hobosexuals accomplished. Their music seemed to bring out the primal instincts of the crowd. Hobosexuals are absolutely one the best bands in and around Seattle and tonight did nothing to change my opinion. They are in the works of a new album, but go checkout their music. Go to one of their shows, it is a revival.


Day 2

The Coathangers

PHOTO BY RUBEN LIRA

PHOTO BY RUBEN LIRA

A Georgia punk band? I know it might not make sense at first but once you hear this band play you will be looking at Georgia music in a completely different way. The energy they displayed was absolutely stunning. They are not afraid to move around the stage, or display the passion their music invokes. The singing duties go back and forth between the guitar player, Julia Kugal, and drummer, Stephanie Luke. What is so mesmerizing about this band, is how each singer adds a unique element to each song which really diversified their music. The drummer seems to add the more grunge side of the band while the guitarist adds the punk element. Best songs are “Springfield Cannonball”,”Follow Me” and “Love me and Leave Em.” When this band comes to town, make the time to see this band, you won’t be disappointed.

Smokey Brights

This is the band that everybody likes, even the ones who say they don’t, they really do. They played the afternoon slot on the Vera stage. The weather was hot, a little humid yet it did not stop anyone from enjoying this bands performance. The perfect balance of indie and rock and roll. The synth is laid in the back, adding the soundscape to most of the songs. Their songs are filled with hypnotic choruses and hooks in every part of their songs. The lead singer, Ryan Devlin, sang with a sensible tone yet powerful enough to bring the audience into every verse of the songs. Smokey Brights are the definitive Seattle band, willing to do what it takes to always put on a great performance. Their best song of the night was “Monster House” which will lure you into their hypnotic hooks and melodies.


Day 3

Charms

The best punk band playing in Seattle and the most unusual. With a perfect blend of indie and punk ferocity, this band has a sound that stands out. In the bowels of the Cha Cha Lounge, this band took over the floor/stage area. With perfectly timed drum playing by Ray McCoy, who always picks the right time to bring in a thunderous roar of the drums in every song. Eleazer Tolentino, the lead singer and guitarist, sang with such emotional angst that it was literally impossible not to feel the emotions of every word he sang. The guitar playing had such a distinct effect layered sound which embellished every song. In their last song, Eleazer Tolentino, the guitar player decided to make the crowd more intense by pushing his way into the crowd, getting the audience to display the emotion of the band. Charms is the band that are making their way to the top in the Seattle music scene. They are in the works of a new album, but till then, watch this band every chance you get because they are not only the here and now of  the scene but also the future of the Seattle music scene.

Gold Fronts

PHOTO BY RUBEN LIRA

PHOTO BY RUBEN LIRA

The new band on the block yet for such a new band, they have already been creeping their way to one of the best up and coming bands in Seattle. Performing in the Cha Cha Lounge, Gold Fronts is the jam band Seattle has been looking for. They fuse together country and rock with just right mix of Texas twang that keeps people engaged. They are led by Aaron Schroeder, who is already a mainstay in the Seattle music scene with his studio BLDGs and some of his great compilations of the best of the Seattle music scene. Aaron sings with a southern rock draw which hardens back to the good old days of southern rock. The songs are catchy, beat driven, sorrowful yet so much fun, that you will be wanting to sing along with the music and enjoying your shot of whiskey, even if you don’t drink whiskey. Best songs are “Low lie Low”, and “Country.” They are in the works of a new album, so till then check out their music on bandcamp. If you want to go hear good music and have fun at a show, go watch Gold Fronts, but you will be drinking whiskey by the end of their show, don’t worry they will join you.

Chastity Belt

The local indie band who has endeared every Seattle music fan. They are the band that most locals hope to become. They play with energy and charisma that very few bands today play with. Their songs captivate the heart of indie music with just the right mix of attitude and contagious melodies that it is not overblown. They played on the Vera Stage, which lured anyone who walked past the stage. The singer, Julie Shapiro, sang with a carefree attitude which added to the energy of the songs but she was able to amp up her energy in the more up beat songs. This band is a local mainstay, and signed to one the better indie labels around, Hardly Art. Checkout their new album, Time to Go Home, which is a great album and really showcases the direction of the band.

Overall this Capitol Block Party brought us everything that this festival has always brought, the music. It highlights the talent that exist in Seattle and some of the best up and coming talent all over the states. It is a showcase of the glory of the Hill. This is what Capitol Hill was and still can be. Creativity, music and community all joined to continue the push of this scene. Capitol Hill Block Party, the demise of music on the hill? Well at least not for this weekend, Capitol Hill Block Party.

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Christian Hamilton

Christian Hamilton

Christian is the founder and Editor of Rock Paper Rock as well as a freelance concert and event photographer serving the Pacific Northwest and Beyond. He is a certified member of the PPA and Gold Level member of the CPS. He has recently began working with Mental Itch Records and has launched his own Photography website.


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