Over the weekend, I drowned myself in music, booze, bbq, and more music at the Capitol Hill Block Party. In terms of artistic quality and diversity, music festivals don’t get much better than CHBP. For one, there’s a heavy presence of local Seattle artists, many of whom I got to see in front of the largest crowds I’ve ever seen them perform for. This years headliners of the three-day festival included MGMT, Atmosphere, and Dead Weather, but I only caught a few songs or each before the massive crowds and constantly flowing alcohol did me in. Or maybe it was the overwhelming smell of hot dogs at every corner. (Dear Seattle Street Food Vendors who don’t sell hot dogs: WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU?!)
Day 1 Highlights: Shabazz Palaces and Holy Fuck
Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets emerged as Shabazz Palaces last year with two fantastically dark self-released EPs, Shabazz Palaces and Of Light. First highly secretive (Ish requested anonymity of the project when he brought the CDs into Sonic Boom Records, where I previously worked), then an overnight Seattle sensation following his debut live performance at Neumos in January, Shabazz has reached new levels of beat-centric futurism. As the sun set over the mainstage, Ish, dressed in an unbuttoned purple shirt moved from behind his MPC to the front of the crowd, triggering a huge boom bap that gave me night tremors hours later. It was fantastic.
Following Shabazz Palaces was Toronto foursome Holy Fuck, who pulled off the side of some fantasy autobahn to park their noisy krautrock kreations right in the middle of a packed Pike St. Their older songs, from their 2008 self-titled debut, were given slick reworkings (“Lovely Allen” sounded particularly wonderful and triumphant), but songs from their newest full-length ventured further into the far-out dance spectrum.
Day Two Highlights: Obits and Black Breath
Rick Froberg’s Obits are colossal riff monsters from San Diego and kicked off Saturday with their turbo-charged garage rock. Their set brought a lot of new songs to the table, including a few instrumentals could have fueled a car and powered it all the way to the desert. Rock n roll doesn’t get better than this.
The behemoth stoner thrash metal of of Black Breath completely consumed the Vera Stage, and inspired the most surly pit of the weekend. I banged my head hard, and was left going into the early evening very very dizzy and even more drunk.
Day 3: Truckasaurus
These analog freaks just killed it. I mustered the bits of energy I had left in me to dance and laugh over their wicked AV techno nerd wizardry. Monday would be painful.