The Highs and Lows of Capitol Hill Block Party 2017

Photo by Maria King

Ah, Capitol Hill Block Party. We had some fun times and some not so fun times. Whether you were there or not, we’ve got your back—read about some of the bests and worsts of the weekend below as we recount some of the performers who wowed us (Lizzo) and some who really didn’t make the cut (Whitney).

High: Lizzo

Lizzo is hands down the best performer I have ever seen. If you aren’t dancing at a Lizzo concert, you can go ahead and leave because we don’t need you ruining our vibe. Oh, and not only are Lizzo shows insane dance parties made up of twerking and sass, they are shows that reinforce everything I have learned from some of the most important female friendships in my life: self-love and the importance of being loud every once in a while. Check out her song “Coconut Oil” for a taste of that oh so important self-love, or check out my personal favorite Lizzo jam “‘Scuse Me” featured below.

Low: Stage is Too Damn Low I Can’t See

Dear Capitol Hill Block Party, it’s super cool that you try to incorporate the local businesses into the festival by placing the stage in the middle of the road, but if you are going to choose such a narrow location for your performance space YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE STAGE HIGHER! Yes, I am a mere five feet tall and I couldn’t see a damn thing the whole weekend.

High: Naked Giants

Naked Giants’ set on Saturday was one of the highlights of the weekend. Their music is effortlessly fun and they really know how to whip-up a crowd. What a lovely and respectful bunch of people their fans are too. Right in the middle of the pit there was this curb that people kept falling over, yet each time someone fell they would be picked up, dusted off by another mosher, and returned to the frenzy unharmed. I’ve seen the Naked Giants a few times now, and seeing how they have become more confident and a musically tight band is exciting!

6eTkxZ6Photo by Julia Olson

High: Angel Olson

Angel Olsen played a beautiful set, which is why it’s so frustrating that Diplo fans were the defining element of the show. Not every person at a festival is equally as into each band that plays, but when the majority of the crowd is battling for a spot for Diplo, Angel Olsen is not given the same respect and attention that she and her band deserve. Ravers aside, however, Angel Olsen played a wholesome summer set which included the hit “Shut Up Kiss Me” midway through the set and ended with the sprawling, slow burner “Woman”. Angel Olson took the stage with a cool, yet sun-kissed confidence and left those actually there for her music satisfied.

Tn2nynd.jpgPhoto by Maria King

High: Diet Cig

Diet Cig is the perfect light and energetic indie rock band to get a crowd engaged at a festival. Lead guitarist and vocalist Alex Luciano jumped, and jumped, and bounced, and jumped with enthusiasm to overpower every other act (except Lizzo, maybe).

w0CeLATPhoto by Maria King

Low: Whitney

Whitney was not the live band I was expecting. While their live music is very similar to their studio-recorded discography—a testament to their balance and proficiency as a group—Whitney was not one of the more engaged band at Capitol Hill Block Party. Between songs lead singer and drummer Julien Ehrlich shared the details of their busy flight schedule, Spirit Airlines, poured wine, and ordered tequila shots that the band later took on stage. This nonchalant, disinterested attitude came across every time they stopped playing which took away from some of the best parts of the set, like pianist Malcolm Brown’s dancing feet, lead guitarist Max Kakacek’s mellow licks, and Ehrlich’s balance of loud and tenderly soft drumming and vocals. The music was tender and spirited, but Whitney’s attitude (and perhaps supersaturated schedule) overshadowed the soft tunes.

CL25bX9.jpgPhoto by Maria King

Low: Lord Huron

Lord Huron was more into their music than the audience was. As three minute songs turned into five minute jams involving 3+ guitars, it was difficult to stay engaged. Kudos to the folk pop enthusiasts of Cap Hill that courteously cheered Lord Huron through the middle of the set (and made the planned encore feel at least a little bit deserved).

99EpiZZPhoto by Maria King

Well, that’s a wrap! CHBP 2017 was a mixed bag of experiences, but through the sea of bros, crowds, and sweating, some wonderful artists played some wonderful music on Pike and 11th. Next year, let’s strive for more stages and a larger number of local bands that will be accessible to all-ages audiences (as it is advertised and priced as an all-ages festival). Next stop, Bumbershoot!

 JULIA OLSON | There’s only one bathroom here | KXSU Head Music Reporter

MARIA KING | costco sized paper towels | KXSU Music Reporter


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