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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Winning Block Party Photo

posted by on July 29 at 12:20 PM

Photo #6
watermelon4linz1.jpgPhoto by watermelon4linz

Yesterday's poll is now closed and the great shot of Jaguar Love won, getting 38% of the votes! Watermelon4linz will get a pair of weekend passes to this year's Bumbershoot (I hope you'll be taking pictures there too).

I know I sound like a soccer mom when I say this, but all the shots were really, really great. And thanks again to everyone who shared their photos in the Stranger Flickr Pool--I think every second of Block Party got caught on film/memory card.

See all the finalists here, browse through the Stranger's Flickr Pool here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Contusions with Walls

posted by on July 28 at 4:25 PM

Into the later hours of Block Party’s second day, the bathrooms were heavy with signs of burden. Fluids and stomachs lost, projectile un-aimed, splattered and left for someone else to clean. After two days of wringing livers, collective innards revolted. The bathrooms had become less rooms and more contusions with walls, connected to pipes and drains. More like cysts under a heat lamp.

Barf fees were discussed previously. Some Block Party goers need to pay up.

For whoever cleaned, respect and thank you.

For whoever dropped their plastic cups in the shitter, when you die, you’ll go to a place where you spend eternity in a neck deep version of the toilet you destroyed.

Two pictures for your viewing pleasure after the jump.

Continue reading "Contusions with Walls" »

Vote For Your Favorite Block Party Photo

posted by on July 28 at 12:50 PM

This weekend, I put out the call for Block Party photos in the Stranger's Flickr Pool. Boy did you guys come through. There are hundreds (hundreds!) of great Block Party shots. After spending hours wading in the pool, I picked 10 favorites that I believe really captured the energy and sights of this year's Block Party. Now I leave it up to the readers to choose a their favorite, and ultimately decide who wins a pair of weekend passes to Bumbershoot.

Look at the photos posted after the jump, and then vote for your favorite in the poll. The poll will close at noon Tuesday.

Good luck, and thanks to everyone for sharing their photos with us!

Which Photo Is Your Favorite?

Continue reading "Vote For Your Favorite Block Party Photo" »

Re: The Physics

posted by on July 28 at 12:21 PM

The future is in mix 2, "They Call Me":

1. “The Ride of Your Life” by Gift of Gab
2. “They Call Me” by The Physics
3. Track 4 by Dyme Def
4. "Power of Words" by Siren's Echo
5. "And All My" by Siren's Echo
Enough said.

Interview Reel 2008

posted by on July 28 at 10:30 AM

Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav, Pleasureboaters, Akimbo, Thee Emergency, Head Like A Kite, Slats, Champagne Champagne, Girl Talk, Chromeo, and more!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


posted by on July 27 at 4:59 PM

"How many different bands is that dude with the mustache in?"


photo by Lance Mercer

"Kimya thought I was trying to take a picture up her skirt and called me a 'dirty bitch'."


photo by Jenny Jiménez

Continue reading "Overheard..." »

WORN OUT: Block Party

posted by on July 27 at 4:58 PM

I can't get over how sassy everybody looked this weekend. Summertime Is Funnertime!


Lots more photos after the jump...

Continue reading "WORN OUT: Block Party" »

More Block Party thoughts

posted by on July 27 at 4:50 PM

Photo by Andrew G Davis.

Musically, Saturday was a big improvement over Friday for me. I saw more bands, and the bands I saw were better. No one’s mentioned it yet, so I’ll go ahead and say the Cave Singers played a beautiful, spare set. Frontman Pete Quirk was feeling it, too: Near the end, he said to the crowd, “I feel like I could tell you guys anything.” Awww.

Fleet Foxes made it to the next level of consciousness, and Grand Ole Party rocked despite headset mic problems— yeah, that’s the band in which the frontwoman drums and sings simultaneously. They were also the most symmetrical band I’ve ever seen— drummer/singer front and center, two guys (who looked they could be brothers) in blue shirts on either side, playing matching guitar and bass. If only the guitarist had been left handed…

Finally, and not to rant, but if there’s two 21+ stages next year, I think CHBP should consider selling discounted tickets to the underagers. It’s not that you see less music, but you have half the choices while paying the full price. Unfair.

A Grand Ole Party Indeed

posted by on July 27 at 4:08 PM

Sleepy Eyes of Death @ Capitol Hill Block Party, 7/26/2008Megan's already touched on Sleepy Eyes of Death's troubled set. It was indeed a great 15 minutes, with the kind of aggression that really works with what they were playing (the new material is a nice progression for their sound). So it was a bummer, but they still delivered, even if in concentrated form.

Less concentrated was Chromeo, who had a longer slot than most other acts. It's almost impossible to hate Chromeo. They're too inoffensive, too friendly, and look like they're enjoying themselves too much to inspire much wrath, even if they aren't your thing. Nowhere near Girl Talk's insanity, but plenty of dancing in the sunshine all the same.

Video from Chromeo

The highlight of the day was Grand Ole Party over on the Vera Stage. I only caught the last few songs of their set, but the lead singer's voice is completely captivating, and the fact that she's able to do that while drumming is nothing short of incredible. Everyone at that stage was sucked into this vortex of soulful rock (let's get them on a bill with Thee Emergency, ok?). They were so good that sold out of CDs after their set. This is definitely one to watch.

Video from Grand Ole Party

The Aftermath @ Capitol Hill Block Party, 7/26/2008After a quick stop by The Saturday Knights and a break, I came back in time for Chromeo's afterparty DJ set. Holy hell, that was a good time. Unlike Friday's afterparty, this one surpassed the day's generally sedate mood. No people on stage for this one, but everyone in the audience was dancing while Chromeo banged it out. I wasn't sure if they'd just be playing a set of Hall & Oates or soemthing, but they played some pretty choice blog house/electro. FourColorZack closed out the night with a selection of party favorites. Around three I finally made the trek home, as the night crew worked to clean up the mess from the weekend (more recycling next year please).

Video from the Saturday Knights
All of my pics

Re: I Dance To Metal

posted by on July 27 at 4:00 PM

I had a gang of fun at Block Party. I shouted along to Hold Steady and The Saturday Knights. I rapped with The Physics. I lit Meinert up with a water pistol. I drank constantly.
(photo by Drake Delane.)

But the most fun I probably had was at Jay Reatard's performance on Friday- goddamn that guy can throw down! We all know it was hard as shit to get from point A to B at the CHBP 90% of the time- but when I realized he was coming on, the stars aligned and the wind hit my back. It felt like I took a liquored-up luge from the beer garden to the front of the Neumos stage where Reatard was ripping through something intense off of Blood Visions. It was a hairy situation- the bass player had kind of a young King Buzzo thing going on and the Reatard himself was hidden behind a Hessian veil of curls. Now I'm too damn old and fat for the pit but I was super-juiced off of (free whiskey and) Jay's brand of catchy-ass metallic punk-skronk so I had to do it. I slid around and jumped and lifted some kid's leg. I pounded on some cat's back like we were old friends and crashed into the bar manager from Chop Suey. My old Chucks were absolutely massacred. It was glorious. Note to hiphop heads: never wear new kicks to a festival.

Re: The Loved Ones

posted by on July 27 at 3:51 PM

Sorry Megan, but I gotta disagree with you. The Loved Ones were the black sheep of the Block Party this year, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but unfortunately they were also the worst band I saw all weekend. I'd never heard their stuff before randomly deciding to check out the King Cobra stage. Walking through the door I was convinced that the band on stage was covering "My Own Worst Enemy" by Lit. Perhaps my work environment has ruined any semblance of respect I used to have for pop punk, but these dudes were hands down the most generic band of the festival. I lasted two songs then split, knowing that it was pretty much guaranteed three better bands were playing outside. Waiting in line for a drink across the street I could still hear the band; this time I was sure they were covering "All the Small Things" by Blink 182.

I cannot disagree with the fact that everyone inside King Cobra seemed to be enjoying themselves, though.

The Loved Ones

posted by on July 27 at 2:58 PM


The Loved Ones felt like the black sheep of the weekend to me--boom-chucka-boom punk rock from Philly on the same bill as Chromeo, Girl Talk, and Vampire Weekend? Really? I'm so glad they were there, though. The Loved Ones continue to be a band best experienced in person. The records just can't capture their humor and enthusiasm.

They play riotous pop punk with anthemic sing-a-long choruses. Their lyrics are about being drunk and broken-hearted, and singer Dave Hause delivers his poetic phrases with a worn and guttrral holler (think Hot Water Music's Chuck Ragan). After blasting through stuff from both the old and new record, and stealing sips of beer from the audience's bottles, they closed with "Louisiana." On record, that songs bores me. But it's so much fun live, when you can stomp, clap, and yell along with the repetitive lyrics "They're pounding nails in Louisiana..."

After a fun performance like that, they weren't out of place at all on the dance packed bill.

Now That Block Party is Over

posted by on July 27 at 1:55 PM


Upload your photos to the Stranger's Flickr Pool. Some of the best shots will be posted on Line Out tomorrow morning, readers will vote for their favorite, and the winner will get weekend passes to Bumbershoot!

Throw Me the Statue

posted by on July 27 at 1:45 PM

Throw Me the Statue_CoreyBayless_CitizenImage02Throw Me the Statue photo by Corey Bayless

One bummer about Block Party—a bummer that's endemic to any big festival, really—is that there will always be two things you want to see at exactly the same time, if not three things. So it was that I ditched out on Chromeo, who are always a treat live, after just a few songs to go watch Throw Me the Statue inside Neumo's. Yes, they're local, and I can see them all the time, but Throw Me the Statue's Moonbeams is one of the best records to come out of Seattle this past year, and the band are easily in my top five or so of local acts. Scott Reitherman's songs are clever as hell, perfectly poppy while still being lyrically somewhat abstract. And they're a lot of fun live. (Plus, what's going to top that completely bananas Chromeo show at the War Room?)

I had a "but if you're here, and they're there" moment before the band started, when I caught their now former bassist hanging out in the crowd instead of onstage. They split amicably, he says, and the new bassist brought some extra keyboards to the band, so that's a plus. The band also had its sometimes horn section on hand for the show to add brass to songs like "Groundswell," "Take It Or Leave It," "Moonbeams," and "Yucatan Gold." There were some good signs for Throw Me the Statue last night: Neumo's was packed, the crowd cheered at the mere soundchecking of the band's glockenspiel, and I overheard a couple girls trying to deduce a band members' name so they could shout it and win his attention. Also a good sign: the band played a new song, called "Parade," which sounded perfectly radio ready (duh, their set was being broadcast live on KEXP, after all): a mid-tempo track with a big, octave-effected chorus pierced by squealing electric guitar feedback. The band isn't perfect live—the sort of flatness that makes Reitherman's vocals so intriguing on record doesn't always come across right live, and he hit one off falsetto on one song—but the strength of the songs more than make up for any rough spots. Reitherman is just a phenomenal songwriter, and "About to Walk," "Young Sensualists," and "Lolita" (despite the fact that I can't bear its opening couplet) remain the total fucking jams. It's also worth mentioning that their drummer is a beast, busying his steady backbeats with aggressive little fills and flourishes (also, I think those girls might have been talking about him).

Sleepy Eyes of Death's 15 Minutes

posted by on July 27 at 1:45 PM

There was a lot of tension in the room before Sleepy Eyes of Death started--the band was scheduled to go on at 6 pm and when they still hadn't started by 6:30, the crowd had grown restless.

Some blame the sound guy for the long wait, some blame the fact the band has fog machines, lights, six keyboards and synths, live drums, and at least two guitars to set up. Still, it was apparent both teams were clashing when, finally ready to play, the band asked Soundguy to turn off the lights. He refused, shaking his head from the soundbooth. They asked again, unable to start until the lights were off (they have their own, it's part of their live experience). He finally obliged but not without flipping them off first. Classy, dude.


With the lights out and the first notes hit, the crowd burst with cheers and applause. Most people there, myself included, were waiting nearly 45 minutes or more--it's too bad they only got to play four songs.

It took over half the short set for the band to hit their stride--they were obviously stressed, pissed about the fact they couldn't use fog machines (despite the fact they cleared it two weeks in advance, they explained from the stage), and as a result the songs felt rushed.

But when they started "In Parallel," things fell into place--even without the fog enveloping them, their performance was still striking. The music was loud (maybe a little louder than it needed to be), and the band started going off--guitarists thrashed more than I've ever seen 'em thrash, the drums were hit harder than ever. A little anger does these boys good.


At the end of the set, in a mini-hissy fit, they knocked over the drums and threw a keyboard down. They were pissed. Obviously. And they should've been. You need more than 15 minutes with a band like Sleepy Eyes of Death. Their show is an experience, something that you have to get a little lost in. As soon as they hit their stride, the house lights went up, and the crowd filed back out into the sun.

It was my only bummer of the whole weekend.

Under Block Party

posted by on July 27 at 1:42 PM

Much fun was had at the Aviation Records and Don't Stop Believin' Records Showcase in the cavernous environs of the Cha Cha. As Mr. Grandy mentioned here, the early evening saw an excellent performance from See Me River, who were followed by the similarly excellent Weirdlords, who set the bar for loud rock. Next up was Triumph of Lethargy Skinned to Death, who are louder and more raucous than I've ever seen them. The new songs seared with feedback and Spencer Moody's howling.



Next were Wild Orchid Children, who I'd never seen before. Thirty seconds in, the crowd went ape-shit. The band delivered crazy-ass, blues-infused din in the vein of Delta 72. Wild Orchid Children are my new favorite band.

Here are some pictures:




Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they don't come close to doing this show justice.

Sorry I Threw a Pie in Your Face, Ari

posted by on July 27 at 1:00 PM

In the name of raising money for the Vera Project, Ari Spool bravely volunteered to be a victim of Vera's Pie-in-the-Face booth, where folks in the crowd could buy a sticky chocolate and whipped cream pie and slap her in the face with it.



Best $5 I ever spent.

The Hold Steady

posted by on July 27 at 1:00 PM


I was going to post all these reviews in the order the performances went down yesterday, but I'm still far too excited about the Hold Steady to stick to that. Look at Craig Fin, for chrissakes! He is the world's biggest spaz, happiest man, and most positive dude of all time. He did a kind of chubby running man. He shouted to the crowd off mic. He kept making that face and throwing his hands out to the side like he was giving the crowd a gift and saying, "ta da!" And I suppose he was giving the crowd a gift, as the Hold Steady are pretty much the perfect summer festival band—beer gardens and the Hold Steady go together like Tim Harrington and hot dogs. I didn't notice what a giddy clown Finn is when last I saw the Hold Steady, on the jumbotrons at Sasquatch last year—maybe he wasn't as giddy at that show—but the last time I saw someone looking that gleefully dorky on stage, it was Atom and His Package. So, well done, Mr. Finn.

The band played much of their latest album, Stay Positive, with highlights being "Constructive Summer," "Sequestered in Memphis," the title track, and "Slapped Actress." They also played "Chips Ahoy," "Stuck Between Stations," "Party Pit," and "Massive Night" off Boys and Girls in America, as well as "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" and "Stevie Nix" off of Separation Sunday. Everything sounded just right, if never quite loud enough in the busier corners of the beer garden. The crowd looked amped up in the front, but there was no way to get up there, and anyway there were even a few scattered "whoa-ohs" towards the back. I inadvertently taught some stranger about "metal claw." It was one of only two sets I saw at Block Party that kept me grinning the whole damn time (Girl Talk was the other, but mostly for the crowd). You couldn't ask for a better closing night headliner.

See Me River

posted by on July 27 at 12:45 PM


Not officially part of the Block Party, but the Cha Cha had a solid line-up of its own all weekend. I missed the final performance of Das Llamas on Friday, but I did manage to catch Kerry Zettel's other project See Me River. Once a solo endeavor, last night it was a full band with piano, acoustic guitar, drums, and either xylophone or glockenspiel. I have to say, the band's dark, folky songs are a much better fit for Zettel's low, droning voice than were Das Llamas' equally low, droning post-punk. Here, the more conventionally pretty arrangements act as a counterpoint to Zettel's haunted baritone rather than as reinforcement, and the effect is perfect. See Me River belongs to a long, long line of mopey motherfucking ensembles to come out from behind the bar of the Cha Cha—apparently, it's a hard, dark life down there—and they do quite well by that tradition.

The Physics

posted by on July 27 at 12:34 PM

Physics_PiperCarr_CitizenImage01.jpgPhysics photo by Piper Carr

With all due respect, I have no idea what the fuck Charles Mudede is talking about when it comes to the Physics. What else is new, right? To my ears, they're a fine, but not outstanding and hardly futurist hip hop act—solid beats and grooves; regular, easy cadences; and one song that abysmally rhymed "my way" with "information super-highway" before going on to name-check Myspace, Starbucks, Bill Gates, and Boeing (ugh). Not helping matters any is that when the group brought out some friends—Grynch, Gatsby, and Macklemore—for a posse cut ("this is how we chill / from '08 'til"), their guests handily stole the show (this is, I suppose, the danger of having guests). Grynch and Macklemore, neither of whom I'd seen before, were especially amped, rapping double time and working references to the Block Party into their rhymes. Macklemore had the best punchline of the day, too: [something about real hip hop] "the radio ain't playing them / we need KUBE like we need another stadium." See, now that's how you geek out on Seattle, not with some Bill Gates shit. After that heated performance, it was pretty hard to get too invested in the Physics' last song, the mellow single "Ready For We."

Black Elk and Akimbo

posted by on July 27 at 12:29 PM

It was a little strange seeing Portland's Black Elk on the Vera Stage outside; the all-black clad band would seem much more at home inside King Cobra or Neumos. A few songs into their set they ask with a grin, "Hey, where's the beer?" It took standing next to the stage to really appreciate the sound these guys were pushing: even with the guitarist's Sunn Model T and and Earth stack the amps lost to the PA twenty feet back. They sound like a modern day Jesus Lizard - for all I know their singer might have actually been David Yow. The drummer snapped off the mallet to his kick pedal in the first hit of the last song. They did not enjoy the large crowd they deserved.

It is a shame there were so many good bands playing at the same time Saturday. The seven bands I really wanted to see were spread across all four stages over two hours, which was lame. None of my choices disappointed, but I was bummed I missed Sleepy Eyes, Chromeo, Throw Me the Statue, and Jaguar Love (although the 30 seconds of Jaguar Love I did hear pumping into the porta potty outside Neumos sounded great: those plastic shitters have great frequency range). The crowds were too intense to try and hop from show to show; way too much time was lost in transit. I wanted to see Chromeo. That was the plan at least. But finding my way to any sort of decent spot from the Vera Stage proved to be a bigger pain in the ass than it was worth. There were just too many damn people. Seeing Akimbo instead was hardly a sacrifice. I talk about these dudes all the time, but it's for good reason. They are one of Seattle's finest rock bands, and seeing the crowd bob up and down during the Keith Moon drums and perfect classic rock riffage of "Wizard Von Wizard" was just another reminder of their prowess. "Did anybody here see Black Elk?" Jon W. asked between songs. A few people meekly reply. "The rest of you motherfuckers were watching Fleet Foxes, and that's a sin as far as I'm concerned." Like Black Elk, Akimbo's sound was just too big for the outdoor PA setup, but all you had to do to remedy the situation was stand up close. They closed their set with the debut performance of "Great White Bull" from their upcoming record Jersey Shores:

Living Up to the Hype

posted by on July 27 at 11:44 AM

This weekend was Seattle’s chance to see three of the most hyped bands in the country all in one spot. Vampire Weekend, No Age, and Fleet Foxes, thanks in part to the unanimously positive attention they’ve been getting from music trend authoritarians Pitchfork, are three of the most talked about names in music, and now that we’ve had a chance to see all three in one weekend, we can try to make sense of that hype.

Before Block Party my opinions of these bands were thus: I did not care for Vampire Weekend, was on the fence about No Age, and was quite fond of Fleet Foxes. I’ve actually been pretty adamant about not liking Vampire Weekend. Seeing them live did indeed raise my opinion of the band: After a long day of drinking and dancing their headlining set was comfortingly innocuous. I still have no desire to listen to their record again (tried several times), but in concert they were fun and whimsical, a simple melody that everyone could enjoy without having to think too hard about it. I see Vampire Weekend as the new Sublime (imagine when they were still a band, before the singer died): So-Cal stoners have been replaced with Upper East Side Ivy Leaguers making breezy summer jams appropriated from black culture. The target demographic is altered, but the aim is very much the same. Just imagine Vampire Weekend doing a cover of “Santeria.” It totally works.

No Age didn’t actually play the Block Party, but they did perform Friday night on the same block. Like Vampire Weekend, I have yet to understand the “brilliance” of their recorded work, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I think the audio quality of Nouns is crappy. At the super sweaty “Secret Show” I was finally able to make a little more sense of this band, and what it took was some context. No Age have to be loud and in your face. Their performance relies on the crowd being a part of the experience, actively participating and not just watching. They are DIY incarnate, the spirit of the grunge sound they employ. I can’t say my appreciation for their songwriting has changed, but that’s because it hardly seemed like they were playing songs. It was a wash of distorted riffs and drums and muffled yells, the band standing one foot in front of everybody, sweat flying everywhere. And it was great, in that context. It would seem No Age have no real desire to be the next big thing. They don’t want to play on the main stage unless they have to. Real shows, real underground culture, happens separate from the festivals, and that is perhaps the only context in which No Age make real sense. Here’s to hoping their ethos remains true.

It’s no secret how much I enjoy Fleet Foxes. Of the massively hyped bands, I believe they alone deserve every bit of that attention. Their set yesterday was unsurprisingly perfect, the vocal harmonies reverberating through the streets like a mild tranquilizer. In trying to figure out exactly why I like this band so much the explanation came in the form of a lot of my answers – from Lord of the Rings. I was waiting in line for the porta potty with Larry Mizell while Fleet Foxes were playing, and I asked him what he thought of the band. He sort of shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s not my thing.” I asked him what class he considered himself; he thought about if momentarily and answered, “Half Thief, half Elf.” “This is Elf music! You should love this!” I sort of yelled at him (I’d been drinking). “Well what are you?” he asked back. “Half Hobbit, half Dwarf.” Then it all made sense. Hobbits and Dwarves idolize the Elves. They are entranced by everything about them. Fleet Foxes are obviously Elvin minstrels from the woods of Lorien. Elves have never been particularly impressed with their own kind (although some would argue too impressed). Animosity from the race of Men stems purely from jealousy. But for the rest of us, the songs of the Elves are timeless and beautiful, and worthy of great praise.

Little Party & the Bad Business

posted by on July 27 at 11:39 AM

So, Stranger all-ages columnist Casey Catherwood has this band, Little Party and the Bad Business. They sing (and, dear god, sometimes kind of rap) songs about stuff like freeboxes, DIY, and partying too hard, and their songs are fun, athletic punk pop workouts. They're young and awkward and funny—Catherwood kept talking about how he didn't feel too good, how, in fact, he felt like he had to "poo;" he also noted that all of us were in the middle of "a revolution," as there were three new flavors of Mountain Dew or something (I'm kind of out of the soda game these days). LP&BB used to be just Catherwood and his buddy Dale Metteer on casiotones and vocals, backed by a drum machine, but recently, the band has expanded to include guitar, bass (Mark Greshowak from Talbot Tagora), and drums. It sounds a lot better this way, especially on the band's more recent songs, where it feels like the band was able to steer things away from punk-by-numbers progressions. The rhythms are genuinely punchy, for one thing, but maybe more importantly the added instrumentation gives Catherwood more time to get away from his keyboard (he and Metteer have their little keyboards set up facing each other, like some miniature grand piano duet) and goof off. It was 2pm and there were only a couple dozen people at the Vera Stage, but Catherwood still danced in the crowd, climbed amps, hopped the fence to run around the stage, punched the monitors until his knuckles bled, and just generally screamed himself red in the face. Even with the full band, LP&BB aren't perfect—Catherwood and Metteer are better shouters than they are singers still—but pretty soon I could see them playing alongside bands like the Death Set or Team Robespierre and easily holding their own.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

More Les Savy Fav Photos

posted by on July 26 at 3:47 PM

I'm posting these because Les Savy Fav are the best rock show going these days.


Tim Harrington!

Les%20Savy%20Fav%207.jpgTim Harrington flying!


Trespassers watching Les Savy Fav from that weird old building that Comet and King Cobra occupy the bottom floor of!

Tim Harrington letting some guy in the crowd butcher an otherwise perfectly good Les Savy Fav song!

Tim Harrington helping out the super busy hot dog stand guy mid-song!

That's all for now. Thanks for looking.

Block Party Big Fun

posted by on July 26 at 2:54 PM

Girl Talk @ Capitol Hill Block Party, 7/25/2008I spent my Block Party Friday surrounded by some of the wildest crowds I've ever seen at the CHBP. I've even got an ache in my knee from just trying to stay upright.

Truckasauras delivered another tight set to a packed house at King Cobra. I feel like I praise these dudes all the damn time, but they're worth every compliment I can give them, and it's always fun to see new crowds get into them. Grandy's already mentioned the Tacocat show, which was indeed a good time, and the Cha Cha was a good venue for the show.

Video from Tacocat

The first bout with anarchy came with Girl Talk. I decided I wanted to be right in the thick of things, so I worked my way to the front and middle of the crowd - holy shit. I spent all day wondering why Girl Talk was so early, but I'm convinced that someone would have died had that show been later (after people had had a few more drinks). As it was, the crowd constantly surged, jumped and danced, an absolute explosion of energy complete with bodies being passed overhead, causing one girl in front of me to pass out entirely. Holy hell, that was as fun as it was hard to keep your footing. I can't stand listening to Girl Talk's albums, but damn does he make for a fun party.

Video from the crowd

Mika Miko @ Capitol Hill Block Party 'Secret' Show, 7/25/2008Other than some time at The Pleasureboaters (more well-deserved crowd craziness), I spent the bulk of the night at the aforementioned "secret" show. The crowd was relatively calm for openers Talbot Tagora, but by the time Abe Vigoda, Mika Miko and No Age came on, everyone was ready to let loose, even in the already hot, humid basement space. All of the bands seemed genuine in their appreciation for the show and the space, and why wouldn't they be? They had a devoted crowd, with plenty of crowdsurfing, crowd interaction (No Age's guitarist crowdsurfed while playing), and a sincere outpouring of energy, with smiles all around. I'm not much of a mosher, but even I was fine in dealing with being pushed around.

Video from Pleasureboaters
Video from Abe Vigoda

It was a buzzkill to leave that party and head to Neumos for the afterparty. Where Girl Talk and the "secret" show were bursting at the seams with enthusiasm, the party at Neumos seemed incredibly perfunctory. Maybe people were tired from all of the other music, or they just weren't drunk enough yet, but the drop in energy level meant I couldn't stand to stay more than a few minutes before making the trek home. Maybe it got better, but I doubt it reached the same level of insanity. Perhaps Chromeo tonight will do a better job keeping the party going.

More of my pics.

More Friday Photos

posted by on July 26 at 1:52 PM

Girl Talk

The crowd for Girl Talk

Tim Harrington and his box of tricks.


Black Eyes and Neckties win the award for biggest Vampire Weekend fans of any band at Block Party. For the first half of VW's set the side stage crowd consisted almost completely of Christine Gregoire's family and these guys.

Mika Miko at the "Secret Show"

No Age at the "Secret Show," which was the hottest, sweatiest, loudest dance party of the night. Literally the second I walked inside my glasses fogged up and I was covered in a layer of sweat air. No Age's DIY grungy shtick works perfectly in a small, packed venue like this. I can imagine why people would hate them at a venue like Marymoor, but in this cramped room they absolutely killed it.

The Big Round Orange Thing

posted by on July 26 at 1:33 PM

Mr. Harrington in Les Savy Fetal:


Champagne's Pearl lounging pre King Cobra:


I Dance to Metal

posted by on July 26 at 1:28 PM

Girl Talk on CD? An awesome insta-party when I'm riding Cap Metro. Girl Talk on stage? Meh. Hearing exact remixes from Night Ripper and Feed the Animals in concert is kinda like hearing an exact joke from a stand-up comedian's CD--nowhere near the same impact, and the set certainly wasn't up to what I'd heard from the more creative Block Party '07 bootleg that has circulated on torrent sites. On the plus side, I started cracking up when I noticed that the mass of bodies on stage (really, the indie-rock equivalent of MTV's The Grind) became pooped nearly in unison. Perhaps Block Party security should've accepted bribes from eager on-the-ground fans for some much-needed substitutions at the post and point guard positions?

I bailed to Neumo's halfway through, just as I caught an awkward insertion of the Toadies' "Possum Kingdom" into some beat, and caught The Dodos' set. 'Sfine. Sounded like the same song over and over to me--a singer with too much reverb hitting only about five notes, strumming madly, with a drummer and xylophonist who knew little other than drum fills. The crowd absolutely loved it--the floor warped under my feet with thousands of foot stomps in unison--and even with the samey-same sound, I fell for the band's contagious enthusiasm. Apologies to the young woman in front of me, but I couldn't help but notice this text of hers: "The Dodos are on right now. I only think of you." Current love interest with whom she has fond Dodos memories? Or is she calling the dude a dodo as a slag? Not sure.

Ricky Claudon, Pleasureboaters

The place emptied before Jay Reatard took the stage--whaaaa? Maybe everyone feared getting punched in the mouth? Wimps. Still, thanks to the exodus, I could walk in and out without much trouble, so I caught a few songs by Pleasureboaters across the street. Thank effin' god I did! The entire crowd was in on the fun, bouncing off each others' bodies in erratic robo-dances while the on-stage trio married the late '70s sound of the No New York comp with an infusion of rumbling, southern-boogie bass--meaning the punk and hard-rock kids each had a reason to rush the stage with fists in the air. Best of all, singer Ricky Claudon broke a guitar string early in the set and didn't flinch. No requests for a new guitar. No stoppage to wind a new string in. The dude did over half of the set this way, and you couldn't hear the difference. That's how it should be done.

Back to the still-spacious Neumo's, possibly half full by set's start, and the crowd wasn't quite ready to embrace the shameless assault of Reatard, slowly warming to the guy's punk-metal blasts until a pit finally erupted mid-crowd. If James Dio heard Chicago's bizarre punk-metal trio the Coke Dares and decided to start anew, that might sound like the brilliance of last night. Every song sounded like an early '80s metal classic--hard, downtuned metal with perfectly placed shout-along chunks, a crush on snare assaults that recalled the earliest days of Megadeth, and a squirrelly guitar tone that sounded best suited for an '87 Camaro's cassette deck. I never had time to relish or enjoy the songs, though, as Jay and band elected to forgo tween-song breaks to instead shout the next song title and tear right in. Things just went so fast, and the sheer rush of their approach propelled me to mosh for the first time in years.

I've never heard people giggle in a mosh pit before. That guy from the Mika Miko set must've gone back to his mom's basement by then, because this was a mess of boys and girls too busy high-fiving, laughing, and yelling "FUCK YEAH" to get angry. Only fault of the show? It ended far too soon, barely 30 minutes. Then again, the brief set might've saved my dehydrated ass from a pit disaster, dunno. Either way, as I breathlessly made my way to the bus stop, I couldn't help but compare the day's last two sets to Girl Talk. I couldn't dance--let alone move--at that over-packed set, since I was either squished by the crowd or crushed by a posse of 18-year-olds behind me, eager to dry-hump anything that couldn't get out of its way. I went to Girl Talk with a mission to dance, but bouncing around in front of the loogie-hawkin' Jay Reatard, just after robo-rockin' with the assault of the Pleasureboaters, felt so much more right.

Past Lives

posted by on July 26 at 1:21 PM

You don't really have to worry about coming into your own as a "new" band when you've been playing with your band mates for over a decade. Granted, Past Lives are less than a year old, but they sounded as tight as any other group playing the Block Party yesterday, and threw down my favorite set of the day. They are a band in which every member brings a unique element that perfectly compliments the mix. From the Neumos stage:

Vampire Weekend

posted by on July 26 at 1:15 PM

Vampire Weekend_CoreyBayless_CitizenImage04Vampire Weekend photo by Corey Bayless

Ah, Vampire Weekend—undoubtedly a bigger name than either Les Savy Fav or Girl Talk, but kind of a let down (or a cool off, depending on how you look at it) after those acts. Haters wanna hate, but like I said in the Block Party guide, if you write this band off because of their aesthetic affectations or cultural references or class, you're really missing out on a damn fine pop record. There's not a song on Vampire Weekend that doesn't contain some great piano melody or nervous little groove or terribly catchy chorus (my favorite right now being "Walcott," which I didn't get to hear before leaving for Comeback—confidential to Comeback: sorry for the rough set, blame the Block Party beer gardens). But, that said, the band seem so damn small up there on that stage in front of so many people last night. Too small. Some bands' best moments are shouts—be it Les Savy Fav's wail or Girl Talk's sample explosions—but Vampire Weekend's best moments are more often than not sighs, moments where things falter and faint, and they just don't play as well in this setting. Even their more upbeat numbers are softer and subtler and don't necessarily play to the back of a giant crowd. Too bad, then, because I don't imagine Vampire Weekend will be playing any smaller gigs anytime soon. Also, how supreme a wtf moment was is to have Marco Collins introduce Christine Gregoire to introduce Vampire Weekend?

Update: Listening to Vampire Weekend as I sober myself up for another day of Block Partying, I'm realizing that there were, in fact, at least a couple really great moments of their set last night, like Ezra Koenig and Rostam Batmanglij's straining harmonizing on the bridge of "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" or that one song whose name I can't recall (a b-side?) that's all crazy, tumbling keys. Also, they played a brand new song, which they debuted for Seattle, they said, because KEXP was the first radio station to play them. So, nice one, KEXP.

Les Savy Fav

posted by on July 26 at 1:00 PM

Les Savy Fav_CoreyBayless_CitizenImage03Les Savy Fav photo by Corey Bayless

I ended up watching most of Les Savy Fav from what had to be one of the worst spots possible—thanks, Kirby (...and weed)—the side of the stage. Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington is, in case you haven't heard, a bit of a performer, and, like a Gallagher concert or Sea World, the best place to watch him do his thing is in the first six rows where you will get wet. (But I realized that, for me, the one thing that bound all the big, exciting names of Block Party this year was that I'd seen them all before. Which isn't to say I wasn't stoked about seeing them again, but just that I wasn't as compelled to have every set be some great moment—I already got onstage with Girl Talk at Chop Suey, I've danced with Tim Harrington, I've done—well, I guess you don't do anything with Vampire Weekend but stand in a packed crowd and watch them, but I've done that before too. In a way, it was nice, because it gave me the freedom to ditch an act halfway through to go check out something else, or to not fight my way to the front for everything.)

Still, the band sounded great as always, and this is what's awesome about Les Savy Fav—not only do they have the goofy frontman, but they have several albums worth of fucking fantastic disco-touched post punk ragers. "The Sweat Descends," no matter where you're standing, just slays. Harrington's lyrics seemed to get lost in his antics maybe a bit more than usual this show, and, again just from my admittedly not hot vantage point, their performance seemed a little more sedate than usual. Sometimes Harrington's banter is just molten comedic gold, and I guess sometimes it's not. Still, he looked good—and a bit like a "never nude"—in those cutoffs.

Got Block Party Photos?

posted by on July 26 at 12:55 PM

If you take photos at this weekend’s Block Party, remember to upload ‘em to the Stranger’s Flickr Pool by Monday morning (tag them “CHBP”). The best Block Party shots will be posted on Line Out Monday afternoon and readers will vote for their favorite—the winner will get full weekend passes to Bumbershoot in August!

Here's some of what we got so far:

BPflickr2.jpgby genuinehi

BPflickr5.jpgby Lauren Max

USeflickr.jpgby Blush Photo

BPflickr6.jpgby Lauren Max

BPflickr1.jpgby JeanineAnderson

BPflickr4.jpgby thoughtsinbuttermilk

BPflickr7.jpgby mike@freedomfromgravity

There are so many more... click here to browse through 'em all.

Girl Talk

posted by on July 26 at 12:40 PM

GirlTalk_PiperCarr_CitizenImage05.jpg Girl Talk photo by Piper Carr

Dear god, Girl Talk! Damn! Kids were going nuts for this guy. From where I stood, pinned between the crowd and security and the stage and the speakers by the photo pit, shit looked nasty. After Gregg Gillis' warmup and only a couple minutes of music, an obviously enthused but relatively orderly group of kids filed onto the stage from the side/backstage area and started whooping it up. Which is when things got nuts.

See, when there's a crowd a couple thousand deep, and there's enough room for a couple dozen people onstage, a funny thing happens—everybody wants to be one of those couple dozen people. Or at least enough people do that security had their hands more than full pulling down kids trying to jump and scramble from the crowd barrier to the stager. Right next to me, a girl kept trying to bribe a security guard to let her onstage—$10, $20, $50?—going so far as to wave the money in front of his face. He did not let her on stage, and, frankly, he didn't look at all like the bribing type. There are also two types of kids who dance on stage—the type who wants to dance onstage to look cool (note: this is obvious, and not very cool looking), and the type who just want to freak the fuck out, who are just unselfconsciously overjoyed to even be there (this is a much better look).

But what was Girl Talk actually doing? Oh, you know, the usual stuff. Mixing a lot of stuff from both Night Ripper and Feed the Animals on his trusty beat-the-fuck-up looking laptop, notably looping things a time or two longer than they play out on record, so that, for instance, you got to hear Biggie Smalls rap, "Time to get paid / Blow up like the World Trade" twice instead of once. The only new moments/samples I caught before the crush of the crowd finally pushed me back into the beer garden were Lil Wayne's "A Milli" and Hot Stylz' "Lookin Boy," both of which sounded just fine. Girl Talk, you so crazy!

Say Hi: Robot Approved

posted by on July 26 at 12:34 PM

I missed the beginning of Les Savy Fav to watch Say Hi's set at the Vera Stage--for that some would say I'm crazy, but I just really, really like their song "Northwestern Girls" and I really, really wanted to hear them play it (besides, I made it over there in time to see Tim Harrington strip to his skivvies and dance around in a crown and purple velvet robe). Not only did Say Hi play the song, but singer Eric Elbogen dedicated it to me because he saw what I wrote about the song earlier this month. Awe!

The song sounded great, by the way. Eric strained his voice during the chorus "It must be in the air heeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeee..." which made it sound like he really meant every word he sang. Their whole show was perfect--the sound was filled out a bit by the presence of a temporary third member attending to the keyboards. It was dusk, the sky was a deep blue, the white-lit stage made them look like bedroom pop angels.

Best of all, Say Hi's set wasn't tainted by the presence of the Toughest Guy in the Pit. Instead of a drunk jackass elbowing kids in the face, Say Hi's crowd had a robot--a polite robot with cups for eyes and a flashing red and white heart.


Eric also dedicated a song to the robot, calling him Mr. Robot. When the crowd corrected him, telling him it was a girl, he stopped, grinned and said "I can die now. A girl in a robot suit at our show. With a flashing heart..." Then they played "Let's Talk About Spaceships" and Eric did not die.


posted by on July 26 at 12:32 PM

TacocaT 5: Grant BrisseyTacocaT photo by Grant Brissey

Despite what some readers think is a blood feud with TacocaT, I found myself watching the band again last night, in the cool, cavernous basement of the Cha Cha (it was super pleasant down there; if you can make it tonight for These Arms Are Snakes, I highly recommend it). And you know what? They sounded awesome, although I think a key ingredient to that might have been that I couldn't make out any of the lyrics in the vocals, only their cadence and intonation. All this time I somehow missed how they obviously bite the B-52s as well as the riot grrrls, and that puts their more frivolous songs in some better context. And, shit, maybe songs about Anna Nicole Smith and pap smears and UTIs are as relevant and radical as the next subject. In any case, the band sounded better than ever, not at all shambolic or sloppy but rather sharp and pointedly raucous. And I know it would be wrong to say that they're just as cute as can be, but they really are—even the dude.

Mika Miko

posted by on July 26 at 12:12 PM

MikaMiko_PiperCarr_CitizenImage04.jpgMika Miko photo by Piper Carr

I'd been wanting to see Mika Miko for a minute now, and I'm glad I finally did, as they're fucking fantastic. The all girl LA punk band has sax like X-Ray Spex, telephone mics like Japanther, and a Paper Rad shirt like everybody. Their songs are seriously fun, seriously dancey blasts. Everything was perfect—except for Toughest Guy in the Pit. See, while everyone else was moshing and dancing and spazzing out, but generally being good to each other, Toughest Guy in the Pit (wearing a black "wife beater" to show of his guns, natch) was swigging pec juice from a flask and throwing elbows and fists at the other kids. Brandon Ivers and Casey Catherwood both asked him to calm down, explaining how everyone was there to have a good time and nobody else really seemed interested in getting violent with him, but he wasn't having that. Later, Catherwood dubbed him Toughest Guy in the Pit, and I joined in applauding him, "You're the Toughest Guy in the Pit! No one here is tougher than you!" He asked me if I wanted to "go outside" (we were outside), and I told him, "No, I don't want to fight—you're the Toughest Guy in the Pit. You would win." So, hats off to you, Toughest Guy in the Pit, you are tougher than everybody else.

Black Eyes and Neckties: "Sorry, This Sweater Vest Is Killing Me."

posted by on July 26 at 12:10 PM

Black Eyes and Neckties get the Surprise of the Night award--I had heard the morbid Bellingham outfit would be my bag, but I didn't know they were that entertaining.

Photo by Corey Bayless

They're all made up like dead people--dark eye make-up, fake blood, fake bruises... they look like their van crashed on tour a year ago, killing everyone inside, and now they just entertain themselves in the afterlife by playing/haunting audiences everywhere.

The keyboards sound huge, like the organ from Disney's Haunted Mansion. The songs alternate between blazing punk/hardcore and raucous rock with a swagger (a la Murder City Devils). The lyrics are all about scary things, which would probably be more scary if they weren't delivered by the charismatic, sweater-vest wearing nerd that admits to stealing lines from Kurt Vonnegut books.

BENTBP.jpgPhoto by Corey Bayless

They're one part Murder City, one part Bloodhag, one part Schoolyard Heroes. They're also one part crazy Southern Baptist church sermon because the singer does this great move where he rips off his glasses, stomps his feet, wiggles his hips, and shakes his hands high in the air like he's testifying. Probably to do the devil because God doesn't like it when bands threaten little kids... "Hide you children! Hide 'em good! Hide you children like you know you should!"

Champagne Champagne at the Capitol Hill Block Party

posted by on July 26 at 12:00 PM

Champagne Champagne at the Capitol Hill Block Party

Champagne Champagne did like Girl Talk and packed the stage last night during one of the last songs in their set: "Head down, ass up, that's the way I like to fuck."

They got off to a slow start (maybe y'all were worn out after Girl Talk?) but once Pearl Dragon (aka Mr. Charisma) hopped down into the crowd and reminded folks how to dance, things evolved into the amusing sweaty sing-a-long Champagne Champagne are notorious for.


posted by on July 26 at 12:00 PM

Truckasauras_CoreyBayless_CitizenImage01Truckasauras photo by Corey Bayless

Truckasauras played about twenty minutes of new material last night (although, a dapper looking Adam Swan says it's only new to me because I missed their record release show). It was way more techy and tracky, less melodic and song-oriented than their usual stuff, and it made more use of their recently acquired Korg MS-20 than their old gameboys. The result was some squelchy ("well squelchy" as Ivers might say) acid bass and some deep, deep synths. The Gameboy does have a classic sound, but it's nice to see that Truckasauras really can drop it when it threatens to get gimmicky and still kill shit. It was generally a more staid or formal and less drunk and debauched performance, but again, it's nice to see them sounding great even without their most crowd-pleasing moves. The sound in King Cobra was fine, if a little tinny at first, and it was nice to finally see Truckasauras playing a fest with a dark room where they could actually screen Dan Bordons videos. It feels like the last two or three times I've seen 'em—Sasquatch at least—Bordon's contribution has gotten the shaft. Some good new stuff there too, most notable some footage of skiers ski-jumping towards the camera away from an explosion behind them. Well squelchy stuff.

Common Market

posted by on July 26 at 11:37 AM

Common Market_CoreyBayless_CitizenImage05Common Market photo by Piper Carr

I only caught a minute or two of Common Market, but I did catch them opening with a rap over Lil Wayne's "A Milli" beat. I know, everyone has done this, but that is because it usually sounds hot as hell, and so it did with Common Market. Hard to make out every rallying cry from my spot in the beer garden, but I'm pretty sure I heard the word "government" used with some scorn. Neumo's booker Steven Severin later told me that people were asking him if Lil Wayne was the secret guest tonight at Neumo's—he's not, although that's a pretty sweet rumor. Everyone knows the real secret guest is Jay-Z.