Hey hey hey, everyone! This is April and Melvin reporting to you after a jam-packed weekend at Capitol Hill Block Party.
Capitol Hill Block Party (CHBP) is a playground in the heart of an urban city that gives music lovers (like ourselves) an holistic experience, complete with the best music, easy access to restaurants and bars, the latest fashion, and a ton of Pokemon hotspots. YES! With five stages, and artists ranging from the local DIY scene to the global music scene, CHBP had plenty to offer for everyone of every music taste and background. Melvin and I had a blast! Here’s a recap of what the both of us experienced this past weekend.
After another full week of summer school, exams, part-times, and internships, we just wanted to jump into CHBP and shake out all of our stresses with music. Being that this was our first music festival in Seattle, we didn’t really know what to expect, so we walked our way (just kidding, April obviously Ubered) to Pike with our cameras and recorders in hand, ready for a day full of music and street meat.
APRIL: Seattle’s seven-piece collective, The Dip, was the first to step foot on the main stage on Friday. I had been wanting to see them live for quite some time, and trust me, seeing them all on the stage was even better than listening to their SoundCloud on repeat. Playing songs like “State Line” and “Working Man,” The Dip took complete control of the stage with their amazingly jazzy horn section and Tom Eddy’s silky vocals. Their easy-going, soulful set was the perfect way to start off my CHBP experience. I also got the chance to chat with Evan and Brennan, who are incredibly cool fellas.
Iska Dhaaf has worked with KXSU a few times in the past, so of course we were 100% ready to show our support at their set. As Nate and Benjamin were setting up at the Vera Stage, quite a few people had already started to crowd around, showing just how much local support this bicoastal band has. As expected, Iska Dhaaf put on a damn good show, with Nate even going into the crowd and singing their final song in the middle of their audience (did I maybe even see a mini mosh pit?). This duo just clicks and the music they make together is incredible, intricate, dynamic, and experiential. A huge thank you to both for chatting with us, and giving us CHBP advice, including to “not hit the security guards.” That’s really good advice, if you ask me.
I would also like to note that other than seeing great sets, I also got enough courage to bust out of my antisocial bubble and ask folks if I could take their picture for my segment, People of Capitol Hill Block Party. It was fun, it was weird, it was awkward, but I did meet a bunch of cool folks, including Art The Pupper!
MELVIN: I love the idea of a music festival in the city (especially one near to my home) because I can take a shower everyday, and can sit down and enjoy my food comfortably in a nice restaurant with air conditioner. Such an urbanite.
Unfortunately, I missed the huge opening by The Dip on Friday because I got off from work late, aka, I was watching Thunderpussy’s rehearsal. Luckily enough, though, I caught Mild High Club’s mild and dreamy set at the Vera Stage. Their vivacious guitar and keyboard melodies are always stellar. I also liked their outfits: a guy with a chromatic propeller cap in the front, and an alternate version of Super Mario on the drum. They perfectly fit into the Vera spirit.
To me, though, the party didn’t start until MØ arrived. She’s such an athletic performer who never got tired of leading the crowd to dance with her and sing along to her catchy melodies.
I was pretty curious about the “soft grunge” brought by a Toronto-based Teen band, Dilly Dally. Monk’s ferocious scream, rough-and-tough bass texture, and Ball’s mellifluous guitar line surprisingly fitted each other so well. The constant shift between wilder music and softer music in their set was really unique.
Washed Out, the main headliner of Day 1, brought out some idyllic tunes that made for the perfect closer to the night.
With day one under our belts, we were so ready for day two, especially because that day’s lineup was actually *insane*! Saturday was the only day that was sold out, and that made a lot of sense, considering all of the incredible folks on the schedule. Tangerine, Thunderpussy, Lisa Prank, ODESZA, etc.—all of the big names and promising new artists in Seattle were gathering together at the same day.
APRIL: The first band I saw was one of my favorite local bands, Tangerine, who graced the Vera Stage. Tangerine is a staple Seattle band. We at KXSU love them a bunch, and with reason. They always looks like they are having a blast on stage, and their energy totally gets the crowd going, too. They played their classic surfy-meets-grungy-meets-sweet songs like “Sunset” and “Wild at Heart,” and their effortlessly dreamy songs made their set the perfect way to start off the Saturday afternoon. I would also like to give a special shout out to Toby (guitarist) for rocking a full-on plaid suit with Birkenstocks. Classic.
One band I’ve wanted to see for so long is the dynamic rock/soul/garage duo, The Grizzled Mighty. I have to admit, since I’d never seen them live before, I had always assumed that they were a four-piece band. But as I made my way to the Neumos Stage that night, I was surprised to see that there were only two people on the stage making such intense, thundering music! I honestly have to say that the best audience and best stage performance has to go to this band. Even with just two musicians, The Grizzled Mighty exuded loud, voluptuous rock that made the audience go absolutely crazy, especially with Ryan’s multiple shred sessions. Even after a long day, Melvin and I couldn’t help but bang our heads with the rest of the crowd to Ryan (guitar and vocals) and Faustine’s (drums) set. (P.S. Melvin told me that he couldn’t feel his head after that show, which I’m pretty sure is a good thing!)
MELVIN: Frankly, all I wanted to do on Saturday was to avoid the sunshine because it was >hot. So, Cha Cha Lounge, my lovely vampire cave, became my favorite spot. The coquettish red lights in the dark, the mixed smell of sweat and alcohol, and the restlessness among the crowds made for a perfect punk scene for Lisa Prank’s music. By putting her personal stories in some lively strumming, Lisa perfectly showed us her philosophy of simple goodness.
Another place I loved hanging around was the media room (sorry, don’t be jealous). I won’t tell you that there was a secret show by Thunderpussy going on. (Yes, it was the third time I saw them in two days.) They performed a whole brunch of new songs during their private 20-minute set.
After an overwhelmingly amazing day two, Melvin and I headed off to Pike for the last time for an exciting day three. Yes, our bodies were exhausted at some point after two days of rocking and rolling, but our love towards the great music gave us the energy we needed to clear through the final day of CHBP!
APRIL: One of the best parts of going to any show is finding new bands and artists that you dig. Luckily, I stumbled into Neumos just as Erik Carlson, aka DoublePlusGood, started his set. This Portland-based singer-songwriter had an incredibly genuine, velvety voice that made me want to melt into a puddle of admiration and pure joy. Granted, I was also melting because it was hot hot HOT. It was probably a ration of 4:1.
After making our way through different sets, I made sure to be extra early for one of my favorite local bands, The Cave Singers, at their set at the Vera Stage. From the very start, these dudes shredded so hard while playing their songs like “That’s Why” and others off of their newest album, Banshee (which, in my semi-humble opinion, is one of the best new albums of 2016). Every single time I entered the photo pit to take some shots of the band, my whole body shook with the strong bass and percussion (but in a good way, obviously). Overall, The Cave Singers put on an extra-high energy set that did not disappoint.
MELVIN: I felt like I was half awake and half asleep throughout the entire morning of Day 3. But I guess this was the perfect mood for The Spider Ferns’ set. It was very enjoyable to follow their deep, dark, dream-pop textures and moderate tempo beats.
I loved Laura Gibson so much. Her flutey voice brought down the temperature. Even though I was standing right in front of the stage, my mind had travelled elsewhere as she played songs off of her newest album, Empire Builder.
Thank you for a great weekend, CHBP! Now, just less than a year until Capitol Hill Block Party 2017…but who’s counting?
APRIL JINGCO and MELVIN YUEN | Photos by APRIL JINGCO | Exhausted but Still Chill | KXSU Staff