The Return of Jesus Lizard ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
Day One of Capitol Hill Block Party was a massive whirlwind of activity for us. Between taking pictures of the first three songs at the main stage, properly meeting a few of our local music writing and music photography brethren, and attending everything we wanted to see while staying hydrated and not getting burnt out on the crowds, it’s a wonder we managed to stay on schedule at all. But we did! Sweet, sweet audial victory!
Capitol Hill’s own Dutchess and the Duke started the festival off on the main stage by introducing a new bassist and announcing they’ll have a new album out titled Sunset/Sunrise in October via Hardly Art. After taking in their set, bulging with enjoyable new songs; we stumbled upon Caffe Vita’s Bean Room, where KEXP and the Seattle Times’ Andrew Matson were hosting intimate acoustic sessions. Surrounded by bags of coffee beans stacked to the ceiling, Hey Marseilles brought the whole band in and impressed with a short four song set fit for a gloriously sunny Seattle afternoon.
Deerhunter’s set was a highlight of the day, despite a few early sound issues. I’m steadily being seduced by their music the more I listen to it. Throughout the set the band was slowly (and not-so-slowly) draining a bottle of Maker’s Mark. Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander picked up the slack though for the one song he jumped stage for, taking moments to tilt steeply and chug between bouts of drunkened dancing in a green trench-coat and singing a lyric or two, leaving the bottle on stage with half the amount it had just minutes prior.
Built to Spill returned to Seattle on the CHBP main stage with a veritable “Best Of” set as voted on by the fans. With fans being involved, the set had a lot of conversation value, fans consulting one another as to their choice while declaring their own choice as the best Built to Spill song ever. “Car,” “Big Dipper,” “You Were Right” all happily made appearances. Given the festival setting though the band stuck to the script and played as many songs as possible with the time they had. Thus, rambling guitar solos were at a minimum and “Cortez the Killer” was not to be, no matter how much both Branford Cox from Deerhunter and I wanted it.
Jesus Lizard’s David Yow wasted no time in showing Seattle he hasn’t changed a bit in the 13 years since Jesus Lizard had been banned from the city. Within the first song, after a running start he had flown over the pit into crowd and spent the last half of the song floating on top of the crush. The songs he wasn’t in the crowd for, new crowd surfers sprouted with abandon. Yow himself menaced the stage, his body language doing as much growling as his lyrics. If I saw this dude looking like this on the corner I was about the cross over to on, I would probably decide cross the street on the other side.
After surviving the harrowing pit and crowd of Jesus Lizard we retreated to the back smaller stage to see if Starfucker had started the oh-so-difficult Seattle dance party. Not unexpectedly, the Portland foursome had riled up the kids, though with the crowd of this magnitude, it was fast becoming an uncontrolled bouncing and pushing frenzy that threatened to knock over the speaker stacks. By the last few songs, security had become a bit rough with the young crowd and brusquely pushed them back a safe distance so the stage would not in their words “tip over.” But by that point the party was already on and the kids were stopping for no one, no how.
As we hoofed it home after midnight we reflected on how nice it is to have the festival in our own neighborhood, what a mad man David Yow is, and how glad we were that Starfucker started a dance party that threatened to take down the stage. This weekend at least, it seemed Seattle was prepared to allow itself have fun with abandon.
The Dutchess and The Duke (now four members!) ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
The Dutchess and The Duke’s new bassist ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
The Best View on the Block? ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons