Sunday, July 27, 2008

Music: Capitol Hill Block Party Day 1

Day 1:

In the beginning, there was Menomena...

This weekend was Seattle's annual Capitol Hill Block Party. It was a rockin' good time, and I sort of feel like I need to sleep for an entire day to recover from the weekend.

One of the best parts of this festival, above all others that I have ever been to, was the actual "block party" feel to it. Both days I was running into people that I knew left and right. I would split up with a friend who wanted to see a band at one stage while I headed to another stage to watch a different band, and it wouldn't be long before I was enjoying music with friends again.

The band that I was most excited to see on Day 1 was Menomena from Portland, OR. Unfortunately the main stage schedule was off for a bit of the afternoon, and it was when Menomena was on stage that the organizers decided to stick to the schedule. They started a while later than the listed set time, but they only played until the listed end time. I had never seen them before, and I left their set feeling slighted. It's obviously not the band's fault. They were really great for about 5 or 6 songs, and then they were over. I will definitely try to check them out the next time they come through town.

Menomena puts out really cool interactive album art work. Don't download their music, you will want to hold it in your hands. Trust me on this one.

Next came Girl Talk, who had a much larger following then I could have imagined. This is when the pushing, shoving, punching, and beer spilling was at it's absolute worst. I guess everyone wants their 15 minutes on stage. Girl Talk live is the most fun that anyone can have watching a guy play his album tracks verbatim on a laptop.
While it started off super high energy and fun, after a while I felt like I was getting beer spilled on me so that I could listen to "Night Ripper". I was disappointed when he threw in a random Toadies sample never to come back to it again. He should have gone back to it, and maybe thrown in a little Spacehog for good measure.

From there I disappeared into the dungeon that was Neumo's and this one experience kept me out of there for the rest of the weekend.

The crowd inside Neumos would have enraged the fire marshal to no end. The stairs leading from the floor to the upstairs was even jampacked with people. I found myself in the middle of, what appeared to be, the designated couples make-out section. You know how there is always that couple at a show? Well I was completely surrounded by them.

I had never heard the Dodos before seeing them live. My friends Brian and Lyndsey were both very excited for them, so I decided to check them out. They did not disappoint in the slightest! The crowd was super hot and just in love with this band. You could literally feel the floor shake with so many people stomping and dancing. Eventually I had had enough of the heat and being packed like a sardine and I felt like I was going to pass out at any moment, so I bailed on the last part of their set to seek cooler air and water.

I caught part of Les Savy Fav's ridiculously high energy rock spectacle from way in the back, sipping on water. I was so dehydrated at this point that I went to order food and my brain froze. I said, "I'm sorry, I forgot what I wanted. I'm just so," "Drunk?" Said the food vendor, "No, dehydrated! I haven't had any alcohol today." I'm not sure if he believed me, but it was absolutely true.

Local all ages favorite, Natalie Portman's Shaved Head were up next on the Vera Project stage. Volunteering at Vera I have heard lots of rave reviews about this band from the younger volunteers.

I was rather unimpressed. The band members were all so excited to be there, and the crowd for them was the largest that I saw on one of the smaller stages all weekend. This was a mostly under aged crowd and they were absolutely madly in love with this band! The music wasn't bad, but it didn't do anything for me. I have to say though, watching their crowd was one of the highlights of the entire block party.

I caught a song of indie rock flavor of the month Vampire Weekend before fellow KEXP volunteer Susan was kind enough to give me a ride home. It was fun, and I saw them earlier this year at Neumos and didn't feel like dealing with the main stage crowd to watch them on this night.

I returned home ears ringing, dehydrated, exhausted, and covered in beer that was not my own.

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