An Overall Review of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party 2014
Whether you were there to get hyphy with the A$AP Mob, alternatively rock out indie-style while looking down at the bros watching A$AP Ferg, or you didn’t go at all, I am sure you suffered from the after effects of Capitol Hill Block Party. The headache of 1,000 free tacos shoved into your body by bar hungry-normcore-folk and being curiously run over by fraternity boys and hipsters searching, not to get to their favorite band, but rather to be seen by the most of their peers, has surely affected all of Seattle.
Capitol Hill Block Party is a very peculiar music festival because it’s nothing like Sasquatch and Bumbershoot. Music experts would say it is confused because it does not try to book the top bands in the world. Bar frequenters would say that it is another reason for them to drink lots of liquids. The other group of people that somehow end up at the “party” would tell you that they had a very weird time, but only if this statement would somehow create a fantastic sense of curiosity in the hearts and minds of their unfortunate listeners, making the listener want to ask questions that allow them to explain why they are cooler than you– because they went to CHBP. Leave my overly subjective comments aside as I tell you how the actual musical and production parts of the festival went.
I repeat myself, Capitol Hill Block Party is a very peculiar music festival in the sense that it is not Sasquatch and it is not Bumbershoot. Capitol Hill Block Party has never been known for its overly expensive bands, nor its mind blowing productions. This, as I suspected and was later confirmed by Eli Anderson (a member of the Neumos booking team as well as a member of the CHBP booking team) is a purposeful scheme. Capitol Hill Block Party is slapped right in the middle, not only of Seattle, but also between festival powerhouses Sasquatch and Bumbershoot, both seeming to have much more money to offer artists. Capitol Hill Block Party is not trying to compete with either of them. Capitol Hill Block Party wants to do one of two things: 1) Finish out the yearly collection of festival wristbands Seattlites strive for, or 2) Attract a crowd that does not want to go to either Sasquatch or Bumbershoot. CHBP does the former by being the cheapest and most accessible of the three festivals. CHBP does the latter by booking a high number of local bands and offering locals the option to drink at their favorite bars. Reading this I am sure you are asking yourself, “Marcus, having been a CHBP this year, do you think they created a successful event?”
After watching A$AP Ferg and Rocky get obnoxious amounts of white people to ironically dance, watching Sup Pop royalty The Thermals and DUM DUM GIRLS kick butt by being too cool, and by watching a wonderful mixture of local acts, I can say, “Yes, Capitol Hill Block Party was successful because it was so cussing weird.”
Much of the festival revolves around people that are of legal drinking age. As someone of legal age I felt like a VIP. I got many free tacos from Poquitos, lots of free coconut water, and was allowed to see lots of cool artists at Cha Cha, Neumos, and Barboza. As a resident of Capitol Hill I was able to stay out late and still sleep in my own bed as well as eat a full breakfast in the comfort of my own home. I was unhappy with the difficulty of finding water within the festival. There were no water lungs, and unless I wanted to buy water plastic water bottles the best way to get water was from begging the Ballet Vietnamese Restaurant who were very nice and filled up my water several times. The festival also follows bar culture. This meant that going before 4PM was wonderful, there was a small amount of people and the bands were very excited to be there. At around 5PM however, things got a bit too nutty. The Capitol Hill bar goers all piled in and walked aggressively to the main stage to watch only the popular bands. It got quite cramped in the festival area at that time, and was pretty uncomfortable.
Despite the fact that I may not like bar culture or all of the acts that were at CHBP this year, I had an experience I could not have had anywhere else. I would like to make a special shout to my favorite performances of the weekend in shout out form.
- “Shout out to the Thermals for throwing an extremely punk, energetic, and truly memorable concert, that I surely believe was better than Chromeo’s set that was happening at the same time.”
- “Shout out to Sol, for playing a set that made himself look like he was right at home. The confidence and flow of the concert was unmatchable.”
- “Shout out to Tangerine, for playing a great live set, that sounded just like their record. Tangerine is the perfect summer band.”
- “Shout out to DUM DUM GIRLS for being a level of cool that I never thought was possible.”
- “Shout out to CHILDBIRTH for writing the wittiest songs.”
- “Shout out to A$AP Ferg for making me feel uncomfortable.”
Marcus Shriver / A Shouter / KSUB Promotions Director