July 24, 2008

SP20: Sunday


Photo by ktjen

It’s been almost two weeks since SP20 occurred, Capitol Hill Block Part is, well by the time I finish this at least, tomorrow and I’m just attempting to polish off my coverage of the event. So, in true Noah Sanders tradition, I’ll be truncating my extensive thoughts (quickly dwindling as time goes on) in to five very quick, very informative bullet points about the events/thoughts I most vividly remember on day 2 of what I’ll continue to refer to as “the greatest musical experience I’ve been a part of”.

Once again, thanks to Sub Pop for continuing to remind me why they’re hands down the greatest record label working this days by truly putting on a celebration of their music, their friends, and all of their extremely respectful fans. It was a magical weekend and, again, I pity those who didn’t make the effort to get out there. Oh, how I pity.

So here we go:

1. No Age was, well, exactly what you’d think a live performance by No Age would be like. Dean Spunt and Randy Randall acted like a couple of talented hipsters, who’d snuck on stage with some stolen equipment to jam out some noisy melodics for a bit. It wasn’t amazing, but it was certainly solid and it did nothing to damage my huge adoration for their recent release Nouns. There were rumors that the duo would be playing within the confines of a dank basement for an unannounced house party and thats where I’d like to see them, in a tiny, sweaty little hole where the tricky distortion and Spunt’s oozing, dirty vocals could really sink in.

Fleet Foxes::Shawn Brackbill

2. I’ve seen the Fleet Foxes maybe five times now, in Austin, in Seattle, at festivals, in small clubs – hell, I feel like I’ve literally watched this uber-talented band grow in both stage presence and fanbase like a creepy old uncle. And I’ll say this: while the band, mainly Robin Pecknold, continues to blow my mind with the sheer force of beauty they’re able to create, I think they might be getting a little big for their britches. The sense of playful modesty I encountered the first few go-arounds is pretty much gone these days. Maybe it’s been the extensive touring that’s whittled them down, but I feel as if they’re very conscious of this newfound fame and they seem almost too cool for school. I’m not poo-pooing the outfit, Pecknold still has some of the more stunning pipes out there these days, I just miss the modest “gee shucks” attitude these local yokels used to expound. If you haven’t seen them, check them out this Saturday at the Block Party, your mind will be blown.

3. Blitzen Trapper has to be one of the more talented, more underappreciated bands working today. I’ve seen them live three times now, and after each performance I fall more in love with their indy-alt-country sensibilities. It was a sad sight at SP20 to watch majority of the crowd clear, favoring the shade of the adjoining stage, leaving only a small contingent of intelligent fans to truly enjoy a more country-minded collection of Blitzen Trapper tracks. On stage audience size doesn’t seem to matter to these gentleman, be it four fans or four hundred these guys are giving it their all, yelling, screaming, jumping, shaking their money makers to entertain the shit out of the audience. Even in the frequent soft moments during their SP20 set, their was such palpable emotion flowing from the stage. It was mighty impressive, and I can only wish that more were around to see it.

4. Wolf Parade’s newest album At Mt. Zoomer has been on heavy rotation in the household, and my excitement level for their weekend-closing performance was at an all-time high. Even with an awkward female presence (don’t ask) cluttering my brain, two days of heat, drinking and sun-burn absolutely exhausting me, and the need for sleep pretty consistently gut-punching me in to submission, I still managed to cram myself up as close as I could, my true fanboy really getting the best of me. Wolf Parade, very bluntly, rocks. I worried that maybe in concert they would fall prey to the indy-plague known as “bored complancey” but my fears were quickly assauged. These are talented folk, who very dearly just want to rock. Bouncy, intense, driven – Wolf Parade was the real deal and I envy those who got to check them out with Foals on Monday night.

Yannis Philappakis::Shawn Brackbill

4a. I said five, but I just remembered this sliver. The lead singer of Foals, Yannis Philappakis, is kind of little punk. When they performed with Maps + Atlases last month, the singer, unhappy about some sort of sound malfunction, kicked an entire HUGE amp off the stage, hurting no one, but absolutely destroying Neumo’s DJ set. It was funny at the time, but seemed less so after watching Philappakis break a mic, his guitar, his amp, as well as kicking over the bassists’ mic on his one vocal performance. This all during a brief 40 minute set. These craft amazing, dark, yet danceable high-end guitar riffs, and I’m a huge fan of theirs, but Philappakis needs to lose the attitude. In the VIP area I continually saw the maybe 4’5″ singer, off by himself, glumly smoking cigarettes in too-tight black jeans. Happy he was not.

5. After much discussion and bantering about who Sub Pop would throw forth for the assumed special guest, the moment finally arrived and it was … NO ONE! It was a little disappointing to say the least, but not enough whatsoever to take any of the sheen off the fantastic weekend. I’d been bragging all weekend about my inside scoop on The Shins’ secret performance, and certainly tasted the sweet brine of my foot stank, when all we got was a brief Wolf Parade encore. Eh, still an amazing weekend.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to stay a little more up to date on the whole CHBP coverage, and for once I’m trying something novel: taking notes. Up to this point I’ve been relying on my at times impressive memory to sharpen the alcohol blurred moments, and it’s semi-worked. But I don’t want a semi, I want the whole damn thing. We’ll see what happens.

Thanks for reading!


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  1. Chris #

    Uhhrmm…the Fleet Foxes were on Saturday: http://www.subpop.com/sp20/line_up

    And nothing about Kinski? Or Comets on Fire? They both tore it up…

  2. Things got blurry on Saturday night. I think it would be difficult to describe me as a “serious journalist” …

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