Monday, July 28, 2008
Music: Capitol Hill Block Party Day 2
The first band that I saw on day 2 was Seattle's own Man Plus! That's the uber-charismatic Jared pictured performing in the crowd.
Watching Man Plus perform is a high energy affair. By the end of the show it's difficult to remember things such as, "How many people are in that band?" The current answer is 6. It's hard to remember not because there are so many people on stage, but because one man dominates your attention for the entire performance. That one man is lead vocalist Jared Mills. He danced, he crooned, he screamed, he lost pints of sweat, and he even bled for the Man Plus faithful who had gathered to witness their performance at the Vera Project stage.
Man Plus live video
The highlight of the show can be seen in the above video link as Jared jumps down into the crowd to perform, "Not For All the Cocaine In the World" from the album The Hungarian Suicide Handbook.
You can catch Man Plus next on August 16th at the High Dive in Seattle. It's a show that you won't want to miss.
When I arrived at the Block Party on Saturday I walked in to see Kimya Dawson finishing up her set on the main stage. I stood there for a moment and wondered if this is one of the largest crowds that she has ever performed in front of. The one time that I saw the Moldy Peaches in 2002 they played to a crowd of about 400. Since I have moved to Seattle Kimya has played solo shows at the Dearborn on Woodland which is a tiny TINY space which can not hold much more than 50 people. And 50 would be absolutely packing that place. She also played a gig at a house venue, The Green House at the end of last year in a small basement place of similar capacity. It was a little mind boggling to see her in such intimate spaces to playing for a few thousand in the middle of Seattle.
I spent a lot of the early evening inside King Cobra drinking strongbow and eating sweet potato fries. I highly recommend the sweet potato fries.
At this point in the day I went around to check out all of the groups who were tabling. I made my way to theBabeland table. They had a ringtoss game where you had to get the rings to stay on strap-on dildos that were strapped to Star Wars character standees. I won a silver bullet vibrator, thanks babeland!
From there I walked by the Democrats table (the republicans were nowhere to be seen) and I glanced over at the buttons that they had laid out. "Oh my god!" I exclaimed, "What do I have to do to get that one!" "It's a dollar." "SOLD!" And I walked away giggling at my new "For those about to BARACK, we salute you!" button. "BARACK" is written in the ACDC font.
After the tables I met up with Jessica who manages Man Plus. I told her about the performance earlier. She was stuck behind the merch table and did not have much of a vantage point to actually see them play. Her and I almost randomly wandered back over towards the Vera Project stage. Neither one of us had bothered to check out the schedule to see what band was playing. We just decided to see what was going on over there. I am so glad that we did.
As we approached San Diego band Grand Ole Party was already playing to a good sized crowd. A song into being there Jessica and I were saying to each other, "Hey, they are really good," and she made the first Pretenders reference to the band.
Lead singer/drummer Kristin Gundred had us captivated with her amazing voice that she was really letting loose on this night. Two songs in we said, "They are really fucking good!" And three songs in Jessica and I retreated to the merch table to buy their album while I talked about how I am now in love with Gundred.
As we continued to watch the live show Jessica and I also perused the liner notes. While I was overly excited to learn that Blake Sennett(Rilo Kiley, The Elected) produced the album Jessica pointed out that Gundred has a wedding ring on in one of the photos. "So? People don't stay married forever!" I retorted.
I also sent a text message to several friends at the Block Party that they needed to stop what they were doing and head over to see this band. I asked Jessica if I could have her all access wristband. "Why, so you can go ruin a marriage?" "Absolutely!" She declined, and I was left with only an album to remember the experience.
After my new favorite band
finished up I was able to get about 4 people deep from the front of the mainstage to see Devotchka close out the entire weekend. DeVotchka continues to put on one of the best live shows that I have ever seen. Despite Nick Urata being without a bottle of wine the band was in top form. Watching Tom Hagerman play the violin live is a spiritual experience, and something that I will never get tired of seeing. Their set included covers of Frank Sinatra, Ted Thacker, and the Velvet Underground(Devotchka does one of the best covers of "Venus In Furs" around).
The biggest crowd pop of the night was when the opening synth of "How It Ends" hit. During the chorus Nick turned the mic around to face the audience and seemingly all of Seattle sang along.
Devotchka closed their set with, "Such a Lovely Thing" which is very fitting. The song's lyrics include:
you only love me when I’m leaving,
you only love me ‘cause I’m leaving,
you only love me when I’m leaving,
you only love me ‘cause I’m leaving tonight
The crowd wanted to see an encore so bad, but it was 12:00AM on the dot and the show was over. Devotchka played for almost a full hour and a half, and it was an amazing, and fitting, end to the weekend.