July 24, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure: Capitol Hill Block Party Day 2

by

Blood Red Dancers ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

“We’ve come a long way together…through the hard times and the good…”

You begin your day with three other people sardined into your twin-size bed and a Fatboy Slim song blasting on your alarm clock radio. Who knew the Fruit Bats would be Seattle’s best aphrodisiac? I’m not saying anything happened with you and the other actors from last night’s dramatic play, but I’m not saying nothing happened either.  Someone from a small mid-western town might call you “godless” and that’s fine. Let them think what they want to think. Do you want to know what I call you? The first person on my Evite list…

You throw on your 3rd favorite pair of jeans and get ready for Day 2 of Block Party. It starts earlier than yesterday so you’re going to have to pace yourself. You grab a sharpie and scrawl “pace yourself” into the palm of your hand, forgetting that you’ll probably wash your hands about 90 times over the course of the day. This is not a good omen as far as your liver and kidneys are concerned.  That’s ok, vital organs take a backseat to Block Party, that’s a given. You make your way to Block Party…

What isn’t a given is how you’ll begin Block Party.  Do you want to dance with the Redwood Plan at the Main Stage? Or do your eyes and ears want to feast on Seattle’s latest darlings, the Head and the Heart, at the Vera Stage? Booty shaking, sweaty rhythmic fun or you hugging yourself and tapping your foot for 40 minutes? Tough decision on a Saturday afternoon. You spend a couple minutes frozen in place and unable to decide. Just then you come up with the unique tiebreaker of “Which group might have less annoying fans enjoying their performance?”

You find yourself enjoying the Head and the Heart for the first time. This isn’t the ideal setting for a band like the Head and the Heart to make their first impression but they are blowing you away nonetheless. The Vera Stage has been quite kind to you thus far during the festival. You smile the entire duration of the Head and the Heart’s set while the sun kisses your skin. Is this heaven or is this Iowa? You see no signs of Moonlight Graham or “Shoeless” Joe Jackson; you conclude that you are in heaven…at least for the time being.

The Head and the Heart end their set and you’re left with yet another decision to make. Do you want to stick around the Vera Stage and see the energetic rock n’ roll of Cold Lake? You’ve seen them before at the Black Lodge and they were an entertaining bunch. You could continue on your mellow journey and voyage to Neumo’s to see Beach Fossils.  You’re unsure whether or not to make a commitment to Beach Fossils because they are from Brooklyn. You’re currently boycotting all musical acts from that part of the universe. Your grandfather has also never forgiven Brooklyn for letting the Dodgers leave in 1958. He’s convinced that if the Dodgers never left for Los Angeles, people who currently live in L.A. wouldn’t be so annoying. You beg to differ but sometimes the grudges of your father’s father are too hard to overcome…

Even though you hate the Main Stage audience with absolute passion, you decide to go see Obits instead of Cold Lake and Beach Fossils. Upon your arrival you realize that you broke your boycott of Brooklyn but you make excuses for your hypocrisy. Rick Froberg was in Drive Like Jehu, which is not just one of the best bands to ever come out of San Diego; they were one of the best bands ever. There you go, your loophole is now big enough for an elephant to fit through. The only bad thing about rocking out to Obits at the Main Stage is that you’re missing out on My Goodness at Cha Cha. My Goodness churns out sweaty blues in a big way and would be perfect to see at Cha Cha. However, they gig in Seattle more often than Obits, you’ll just have to suffer through this blown opportunity. You vow to see My Goodness in a few weeks at Chop Suey.

Obits was enjoyable but in order to avoid the point when the Main Stage audience turns into a herd of cattle, you leave Obits when they are about to play their last song. You make your way to Neumo’s to try to catch the last few songs of the Drowning Men

You arrive in Neumo’s utterly flabbergasted and disappointed. It’s not that the Drowning Men are bad; it’s just that you confused their moniker with legendary Burlington, Vermont hardcore band, Drowningman. You were hoping to lose face to “Condoning the Use of Inhalants” and “When People Become Numbers” but instead you got digestible indie rock. You conclude there’s enough indie rock on this earth that is easy on the ears and you don’t want anymore. You leave Neumo’s and watch scores of people enjoy the Drowning Men as you exit…

Still bitter from your indie rock let down, you decide to go to the Cha Cha to try and catch a few songs of the Blood Red Dancers. On your way over you buy a hip-hop CD from some stranger at a negotiable price. You don’t ever plan on listening to the CD but you feel good knowing that you’ve supported local music…

The Blood Red Dancers are good and seem to thrive in the close quarters of the Cha Cha.  This band reminds of you of the bands Firewater and Morphine even though they sound don’t sound like either. Blood Red Dancers play the song “Sweetie’s Getting Robbed” and you think to yourself what an awesome tramp stamp that would make for that one girl at work that you don’t like. The Blood Red Dancers have turned the Cha Cha into afternoon sweat-fest. You get tired of the gym locker room vibe and decide to leave Block Party for a short period of time…

As you make your way to Cal Anderson Park you run into some old friends walking towards the entrance of Block Party. You convince them that it would be a good idea to go to Molly Moon’s for some ice cream. You crack a smile as you are reminded of that special moment in Fugazi’s “Instrument” when Ian Mackeye chastises an audience member for getting too rowdy. “Ice cream eating motherfucker…” You think of it as being one of the greatest moments in western civilization. The gods in the sky just think of it as foreshadowing…

After waiting in line for “a goddamn long time” (direct quote from one of your friends), you purchase some Maple Walnut in a cone and lick away. Delicious. Everything is right in the world. You’re with friends on a pristine summer day in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying music and being hedonistic. You would like to capture this moment in a time capsule and open it up some time in the distant future. Licking your ice cream, walking on the sidewalk, enjoying conversation, minding your business…

Fight breaks out and you’re caught in the middle. Just like that awful U2 song, you’re stuck in a moment and can’t get out of it. Strangers unexpectedly decide to come to blows. Your ice cream ends up all over your clothes as you seek shelter from the melee. The fight doesn’t last that long because cops are stationed right around the corner. You make your way to the entrance of Block Party as the police officers arrest the two men. You’re pissed about your ice cream. You keep in mind not to punch anyone in the face while inside; if you do you’ll soon share the fate of those two men…

The only thing you want to hear right now is Black Breath at the Vera Stage. They bring the kind of heavy aggression that will make one forget that they have ice cream all over them. As you make your way to the Vera Stage you keep your fingers crossed and hope they play “I Am Beyond” or “Unholy Virgin.” Without question this will be the most crushing set of the entire weekend…maybe even the entire summer. Throughout the set you make sure to give the “devil horns” sign as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio who just passed recently.

After your dessert catharsis courtesy of Black Breath, you take a look at your Block Party schedule and are unsure of what to do next. You think about giving Neumo’s another shot but you’re not even sure who is playing there. As your eyes make their way across the schedule, you notice !!! just got started not too long ago on the Main Stage. They’ve been a band a long time, you’re kind of surprised that they are still around and wouldn’t mind going to see them. Suddenly you remember what a pain in the ass it is to Google their name and decide against it.  This is the age we live in, where we hand down judgments based on search engine results. Besides you haven’t gotten your fix of hip-hop today (remember those bumper stickers from Day One?).  You decide to stick around for the Hip-Hop showcase at the Vera Stage featuring Grynch, Spaceman and State of the Artist

After the Hip-Hop Showcase at the Vera Stage is over with, you decide that hip-hop can’t fail in a festival setting. You’ve never seen Grynch perform live before but he killed it as expected. You were completely unfamiliar with State of the Artist before this night but you’ll keeping an eye out for their future dates as well…

Now you’re faced with a great problem, a blessing of sonic proportions. There’s potentially four or five acts you want to catch by the end of the night and if you are fleet of foot, you’ll be able to see every last one of them…

You leave the Vera Stage and make your way to Neumo’s to see Past Lives. They play the kind of weird shit that you are in to. Plus they have this really cool t-shirt that you’ve been thinking about buying. While Past Lives are between songs you peek your head out of the side door of Neumo’s to catch a glimpse of Blonde Redhead on the Main Stage.  Every time you peer out, you think to yourself “Is that really Blonde Redhead playing the Main Stage at Capitol Hill Block Party?” Believe it mammal, it most certainly is. What other stage would they play? Exactly…

Before Past Lives can finish their set at Neumo’s, you make your way back to the Vera Stage to see Seattle’s favorite pocket sized orchestra, Grand Hallway. The last time you saw them was at Neumo’s with the Moondoggies and you thought they were amazing. The Vera Stage will prove to be kind to both Grand Hallway and all its spectators…

After Grand Hallway plays four songs (no more, no less) you will decide that this beautiful music is causing you to be too introspective. You conclude that your life is like an airplane stuck on the runway filled with a bunch of bitchy passengers. It’s not a good feeling. You need a different distraction.  You head to Cha Cha to see Feral Children

The sounds coming from downstairs at Bimbo’s make the descent down the stairwell to Cha Cha feel like House of Leaves. It’s not the sound of the music; you’ve had too much to drink and not enough to eat. You reach the bottom of the stairs just as Feral Children begin to play “Kid Origami.” This means a lot to you because that song has been stuck in your head for the last six months. Now that you’ve witnessed the song once again in person, you can sleep without the night terrors that have haunted you for so long. A good pop song can do that to you…

Feeling free of your night terrors, you leave Cha Cha and head back to the Main Stage to catch Atmosphere, a true veteran of the indie rap game. At one point in your life God Loves Ugly was a favorite album of yours. Considering your love of that album, your surprised you never saw Atmosphere before or since it came out…

4 Comments

Hit us up.

  1. jeff #

    Eastern Grip was a great way to start day two of the Block Party!I’d never heard them but was glad I went

  2. gary #

    didnt blonde redhead cancel …? i was there .. that was the word .. didnt see or hear them

  3. Gary,

    Yes Blonde Redhead canceled, this was a fictional preview of the festival written and posted before the cancellation.

  4. gary #

    aha! thanks! and weeiiirrrrd

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