Choose Your Own Adventure: Capitol Hill Block Party – Saturday
Beat Connection ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
(Here’s what happened to you on Friday.)
You know what the most unfortunate thing about the “Saturday” of Block Party is? The fact that it starts at doors start 1pm. The number of people bitching about the hot nice weather blackouts will undoubtedly increase. You don’t care what children do before they enter the festival gates. You’re on a mission to do two things:
1) Finish your brunchfast at Table 219. 2) Find out if some really did punch the lead singer from Kings of Leon in the mouth. You must find the assailant and carry him/her on your shoulders for the rest of the day like the true rulers of the schoolyard that they are.
There’s no rush to get to everyone’s favorite all-day hyper-local shitshow. Hasau sounds like every other indie rock band that is currently playing music in the year before Mayan Doomsday ends all of our lives. To some this will be a pleasant set, but you’d prefer something that is not as bland as chewing a wet paper bag with more flavor.
He Whose Ox Is Gored were just crowned Grudge Rock champions only a matter of months ago. You enjoy their Nightshade EP but you really wish the band would play their songs three times faster than they do. If Red Bull were kind enough to sponsor He Whose Ox Is Gored, thus giving them “wings” and unknowingly helping you achieve your hidden goal, they’d be one of the best bands in Seattle. Instead, you’re going to skip them and let your food digest in Cal Anderson park.
Eventually, you head back inside the safe confines of a music festival that you feel will be absolutely underwhelming today.
You glance down at your smartphone to check out who should be the background soundtrack to your feverish people watching. You try not to gaze too much longer at your palm-sized example of advanced technology because some jerk keeps on spilling their expensive beer on your shoes. You spy a name on the schedule that is dear to your heart.
Read the rest of your adventure
You like sports right? There are no jock gestapo around to read your thoughts and possibly beat you senseless. The biggest problem is, you’re not sure which “Sports” is performing at Block Party. Is it Sports? Or is it Sports? Google analytics and your brain are on standby. You don’t know how to process this information in an efficient manner so you head back to a place of perpetual regret and sorrow and hope things fall into place properly.
Down the same familiar stairs into the same black hole. You’re walking upright but every other step you wish you’d slip and sustain a major head injury. Not in the interest of litigation and millions of dollars, it’s just that every time you arrive at the Cha Cha you’re deathly afraid of what awaits you.
This time the place where “cool goes to die” only half disappoints. You wanted the Toronto based Sports but you get the other one instead. Sports sound like seduction music for Trekkies. The encouragement of Trekkie reproduction is something you can wholeheartedly stand behind. “To Catch a Thief” drones and percolates like the sex drive of an android in its prime. You keep dancing. They keep dancing. They keep singing. We all kept drinking. It’s a scientific fact that any object that is set in motion comes to a stop eventually (I may or may not have made this up). You’re convinced that if there wasn’t anything else going on in the lives of those around you, Sports might still be performing this time next year.
Sports are now out of season and you need something to entertain you until Lovers take to the Vera Stage. You meander around sun-kissed city blocks until you run into a few friendly Aussie’s, just hanging out in America on “holiday.” International vacation time is more enjoyable than the away-from-work leisure time spent here in the United States, mostly because of its name. You talk to the Aussie’s, make the obligatory small talk about vegemite, Foster’s and dingoes eating people’s babies in the outback. You part ways with the Aussie’s before heading to the Vera Stage, surely you’ll see them again.
Lovers are a Portland group you’ve wanted wrap your arms around ever since you heard them on KEXP while you were making sandwiches in a previous life. So catchy. So synthy. So dark. So you. And as everyone dances poorly to the music that Lovers produce, you can’t help but wonder can life get any better than this? Then you check your smartphone and whisper to yourself, “Life has to get better than this, it’s not even 5:30pm yet.”
Suddenly Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” gets stuck in your head and begins subtracting from your overall enjoyment. “This is one of his weakest songs,” you cry out as you look to the heavens. Suffering from confusion and flamboyant anger, you decide what to do next.
Do you stick around the Vera Stage and wait for the most boring band in Seattle Seapony? Do you leave Block Party and go to a gun show in Kent (surely, the vibes from this town will kill the Elton John inside of you)? Perhaps you go see Telekinesis at the Main Stage?
In all honesty, you want to go to that gun show in Kent but that would mean you’d miss a decent amount of the rest of Saturday’s Block Party festivities. Defeated, you walk in the direction of the Main Stage, hoping that something exciting happens to you before you arrive at your final destination.
On the way to Telekinesis, you run into an old roommate who moved to Portland so they could eat the most delicious breakfast imaginable on any given day they could save some money. The two of you didn’t part company on the best terms. However, now that the both of you have been day-drinking for a few hours, you artificially genuinely enjoy the company of one another. Telekinesis plays in the background as the both of you reminisce over your broken friendship. Every potential awkward pause is supplanted by a hollow “It’s SO good to see you.”
It isn’t until now that you realize that drinking can solve all of the world’s problems. You wonder if Palestinians and Israeli’s are enlightened as you are. Your brain is at work once again, imagine that.
Do you leave Block Party, stop by the liquor store, buy hundreds of dollars worth of booze and attempt to fly to the West Bank in order stop violence that seems to have lasted millions of years? Do you continue to talk about the past with someone who belongs in your past? Do you go back to the Cha Cha and watch another Portland band (Reporter) do its thing?
You decide to make a hybrid decision and bring your past (read: your old roommate) with you to the Cha Cha. Reporter belongs in a place like the Cha Cha because they look hip and thrive in enclosed places. They vaguely remind you of the Seattle duo Glitterbang, but you make the comparison mostly out of ignorance. Anything that is electronic with female vocals reminds you of Cyndi Lauper. There’s nothing wrong with a little bump and grind with songs about love and masturbation. Sometimes love is masturbation. You dance next to your old roommate and continue to think about love and masturbation. How long are these impure thoughts going to last before you finally act on the former or the latter?
Do you take your old roommate to the photo booth for an impromptu make-out session? Do you go to the photo-booth to engage in self-love? Or do you go watch Ravenna Woods at Neumos and pray to god that they don’t show the video for “Graves” because it might give you nightmares?
You decide to put physical pleasure on the back-burner (for now), ditch your old roomie and head to Neumos to watch the finest hardcore, math folk trio that the world has ever seen. Ravenna Woods does not disappoint, have they ever? Like moths to a bright light, their songs attract and magnetize local music fans. In this instance, nobody dies from getting too close. Many of the songs off of Demons and Lakes are full fledged sing-a-longs. As you are singing the refrain to “In the World,” you notice something out of the corner of your eye…
IS THAT POSSIBLY, MAYBE THE LEAD SINGER FROM KINGS OF LEON HIDING IN THE SHADOWS?!?!?!
You turn your head to confirm your peripheral suspicion but before you this vision can be validated, “he” is gone in an instant. You leave your old roommate in Neumos and exit out of the backdoor. Once outside, you can continue to look for a wee man with an expensive haircut and possibly swollen facial features. Your mind and your body begin to wander….
Do you go search for the world’s greatest front-man at the Main Stage during Best Coast? No way, that’s not rocking enough for a guy that sings about needing somebody like you (whoaaaa whooaaaa whoaaaa). In your mind you can imagine Mr. Anthony Followill grabbing his package and giving the devil horns to Virgin at the Cha Cha. Besides, you realize that you’ve been dancing to synth-pop stuff all day and are in dire need of some rock and roll action.
Virgin is the epitome of classic rock radio and you fucking love it. Everything about them screams hairy chest, acrobatic kicks, gratuitous womanizing, girls playing frisbee in Golden Gate Park, men wearing daisy dukes and stretching for no apparent reason, after-school “we’re having a good time because we’re doing drugs thinking about playing putt-putt” 1977 video montage (beta max only, duh). You’re having so much fun that you don’t even realize that you haven’t seen your “target” since you arrived at the Cha Cha. You decide that there is plenty of time to find Mr. Followill and you continue to get your “rawk” on to Virgin. The band closes with the hit “All Bark, All Bite” because when you have a song with that great of a title you’d be foolish not to.
As the people file out of Cha Cha you watch their faces pass you by. No sign of a certain rock superstar. You look around around a room that suddenly only has ten people (not counting the bartenders) and you put your thinking cap on. “Where do we go from here?” you ask yourself in first-person plural form. How tacky.
Do you stick around and support a band that might believe in “Ancient Astronaut Theory” (Nazca Lines)? Do you walk around the festival looking for “that guy” or the person who “might have hit that guy”? Do you go see Les Savy Fav for the first time in a half century for the first time since they last played Seattle with the Absolute Monarchs?
You decide you want to see a middle-aged man act like a seven-year-old who stole all the contents from an ice cream truck and head over to the Main Stage to see Les Savy Fav. As you are walking over you run into your long lost Aussie friends. Instead of making small talk with them for a second time, one of them cuts right to the chase.
“Mate [obligatory], I met the girl who punched that rockstar guy in the mouth.” he says. “She? Was it really him? For some reason I can’t explain I have to know…” you exclaim. “Yeah, it was a girl. Her name is but a single letter.” he breathes. “J,” you both say at the same time.
You walk to the nearest bar and buy each other whiskey coke’s and discuss the devil in the details. You completely forget about Les Savy Fav in your quest to congratulate a human being in consonant form. Drinks are sipped. Glances are met. Stories are told on the behalf of others. Time passes you by.
Suddenly you realize the two of you are practically alone in your watering hole. Everyone has left to go see Beat Connection or Akimbo. Do you want to dance or do you want to die, that’s the real question. You thought Akimbo was amazing the last time you saw them at Neumos and it would be much more satisfying to see them at an intimate venue like the Cha Cha. However, Beat Connection has been riding the snake has been all-aboard the Seattle music scene “hype train” lately. You might want to see if its well-deserved or a gruesome accident waiting to happen…
You watch your one Aussie friend meet up with the rest of his “mates” and head over to the Vera Stage to see Beat Connection. Their performance is easily the most packed that the Vera Stage has seen all weekend. At one point Amelia Earhart comes back from the dead and flies her ghost plane overhead with an illuminated banner reading “Beat Connection are fucking killing it!” before she disappears into the afterlife once more. “Indeed they were Amelia,” you say to yourself slither incoherently across pavement dance the best dance moves of your twentysomething life. You’ll never forget how beautiful the beginning of “Sunburn” sounded during a moment in which there was no daylight to be seen. From this day on, every time you hear Beat Connection you’ll think about your never-lived glories as a backup dancing extra in a Stone Roses video.
You’re walking dancing on air as you head to the Main Stage for TV on the Radio. You enjoy their set but your heart is elsewhere. Beat Connection was so good that the rest of the festivals performers might be shit out of luck have a lot to live up to.
As TV on the Radio fails to play all the songs that got you into the group in the first place, you leave the festival satisfied and determined. You now know that your hero has a name and a face. Will you have enough time on Sunday to put all the pieces together and find out what really happened? When will Kings of Leon release another killer album? Will Akimbo do a mash-up with Beat Connection so you can finally hear what it’s like to experience both acts at once? Are you starting to like the Cha Cha…even just a little bit?