Photos: Capitol Hill Block Party – Day 3, Part 2 w/Ricky & Mark, Gibraltar, Haunted Horses & the War on Drugs

I finished my last day at Capitol Hill Block Party catching three local bands, and a bit of the War on Drugs‘ soundcheck. You read that right: the War on Drugs’ soundcheck. That band was running at least 45 minutes behind schedule (I don’t know when the time schedule got thrown off, might have had nothing to do with them), and though I wanted to get pix of them, after standing in the sun for over an hour I just lost my strength. I did see a lot of Ricky & Mark, a rap/synth band (or as they call it: rappa comma everything). I also saw Gibraltar at the Barboza Stage and Haunted Horses at the Cha Cha Stage. I enjoyed all the acts, and was especially glad to see Haunted Horses, whose sonic weirdness went well with the Cha Cha Lounge’s strange walls and bloody red lights.

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Ricky & Mark

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The War on Drugs – all photos by Dagmar

More Photos of Capitol Hill Block Party, Day Three – Part 2

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Show Review & Photos: The Blood Brothers @ Showbox at the Market

The Blood Brothers @ Showbox at the Market, 8/22/14
Show Review by Marz

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The Blood Brothers – photo by Marz

The Blood Brothers are back from the dead thanks to a much-anticipated show at the Showbox on August 22nd. For me, I couldn’t help but think back to how my lone wolf tendencies lured me to Seattle in the late ’90s in search of new things to get into. Going to see live music was a way to be social, but not really have it be too forced. I nurtured my youth by hitting up dance parties, house shows, dive bars or DIY places. Adventures led me to kick around at spots like the Velvet Elvis, the Breakroom, I-Spy, Sit n Spin, Old Firehouse, Ground Zero, the Graceland, the Paradox or the RCKCNDY. My memory is foggy, but I am pretty sure I first saw the Blood Brothers with Botch at the Velvet Elvis. I immediately had a major crush on their outfits that included some army navy surplus gear like pea coats, or Converse kicks, ’70s cap sleeve cropped tees, and perfectly swoopy mod hairdos. Their sound felt shockingly loud, but also like they were letting out a heavy weight of emotions to pacify moody listeners like myself. The lyrics were excruciatingly deep, emotionally direct, but filled with historical references and parables. They were technically precise, but extremely mind shattering. I guess I presumed it was bit of art rock and hardcore, but not anything I had heard before. Anyways, I was excited to see they reunified.

Openers Naomi Punk got the eve off with some reprising drone driven meditative sounds that were subtle, but sedated. Their tones were matched with minimal harmonies and sincerely real lyrical inflections. It was a sweet selection to get these guys to induce the show.

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Naomi Punk

Then there was a short intermission as more people piled in for the sold out gig. I noticed old flames and friends reuniting while rap, hip hop, R & B from the late ’90s/early ’00s played in the background. Thinking back, I liked how the Blood Brothers would always rock the family affair vibes with most of the bandmembers’ lovers and BFFs joining them on stage for dancing and sing-a-longs during their sets. This time it was really cool to see frontman Blilie’s wife Zoe running the stage set up as fans squeezed to the front before their live action. Then they all came out radiating a bounty of energies that transmutated the room. The whole dynamic was a feeling of chaotic chemistry.

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I had my shitty iPhone ready in hand and had sandwiched myself between two attendees and the front stage to ensure that I remain in upright position to get some snaps of the show. The Blood Brothers were doing power stance rocker moves and high kick jumps that I never had the pleasure to witness before. There were lots other bodies from the audience floating through on the crowd, swaying side to side, or jumping to the stage. Also, lots of new and old school faces were screaming to lyrics. Later on Blilie shared with the crowd how much he appreciated everyone there, and aside from his friends and family, he loved his bandmates with whom he has spent most of his life. From witnessing past to present I do believe that the Blood Brothers tremendously influenced the Seattle music scene to its present existence. If not for the Blood Brothers and countless other musicians it would just not be what it is today. So I am thankful.

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It’s been almost four weeks since the show, and people are still hyperly chatting about their “back-in-the-day” memories and the show. Last weekend, I was at a Display show when I met Hollie Wilcox, a local photographer who has a healthy archive of band photos. I thought it would be fun if she would like to share with everyone some of her pics. So here are the never-before-seen photos of the Blood Brothers show in 2003 at the HUB courtesy of Hollie Wilcox. As you can see their shows were just as vibrant then as they are in present day.

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all photos from 8/22/14 BB’s show by Marz
all photos, ticket stub and poster clipping from 11/14/03 BB’s show courtesy of Hollie Wilcox

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Show Preview: Lykke Li @ the Moore, Wed. 9/17

Sweden’s Lykke Li returns to Seattle for a headlining show tomorrow night, Tuesday the 17th, at the Moore Theatre. The singer-songwriter released I Never Learn, her third album, which she wrote in Los Angeles – featuring the gorgeous “No Rest for the Wicked” – just in May. The Seattle date (nearly sold out!), first stop on her “I Never Learn Tour,” includes fellow excellent Swede, Mapei, who will be Li’s opener throughout the tour.

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Lykke Li – Seattle 2011 – photo by Kirk Stauffer

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Photos: Capitol Hill Block Party – Day 3, Part 1 w/Kithkin

The always-stunning Kithkin was let loose on Capitol Hill Block Party‘s Vera Stage. Easily one of Seattle’s very best bands (I won’t rank the great bands; that would just be icky), Kithkin has created its own magical, ethereal and absolutely whomping sound and way. All hail Kithkin.

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Kithkin – photos by Dagmar

More Photos of Kithkin @ Capitol Hill Block Party

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Show Review & Photos: Xiu Xiu, Circuits des Yeux & Newaxeyes @ Barboza

Xiu Xiu, Circuits des Yeux & Newaxeyes @ Barboza, 8/5/14
Review by Nick Nihil
Photos by Dagmar

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Xiu Xiu

Before I get into the music let me first get this message out: if you’ve paid to get into a music venue for a show featuring live musicians, please SHUT UP. Music venues, particularly small ones usually featuring rock or other forms of music in a popular aesthetic, while often having a bar, do not serve the same functions of bars. A bar is where you go and talk loudly. A bar usually features some bullshit Pandora station being pumped through speakers, indicating that the purpose of the music isn’t necessarily there for the patrons to listen intently. For those who say that a musician’s job should be to command the crowd and shut them up, I’ll say yes, but with a caveat. When a musician plays in a bar, whose performance is a mere blip or outlier within normal operations, and NOT in a venue open solely for exhibiting performers, it’s on him/her to silence a crowd. When you’ve paid to get into a show and then decide to shoot your mouth off endlessly 20 feet from the stage, you’re wasting your money and doing a disservice both to yourself, the rest of the audience who actually cares to pay attention to the performers, and the performers themselves. If you want to talk loudly, go the fuck to a bar or step outside. Dropping $10 doesn’t entitle you to obnoxious behavior. Try actually engaging with what you’ve paid for – it does wonders for your experience. This, of course, also applies to the constant use of all of your electronic gizmos. Stop taking pictures and actually take in the show. Be engaged and responsive, otherwise you’ll have a ton of pictures from things you barely remember.

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Circuits des Yeux

This miasma of clatter and din was most apparent during Circuit des Yeux’s set, a solo noise-folk performer combining elements of the Buckleys (both Tim and Jeff), PJ Harvey, and Nico. This was not a pretty, flowery singer-songwriter set. Often running her acoustic guitar through abrasive fuzz while, at one point, nearly swallowing the microphone while screaming into it, she brought an unusual but highly effective confrontational abrasiveness to the idea of the acoustic folk singer. Because her set was dynamic, the sound of the loud, drunk patrons often overpowered the quieter moments in her set. I would have loved her set a lot more had I not spent most of it choking on my own rage over the behavior of the crowd. In fact, just typing that sentence induced a rage flashback. That said, I haven’t heard anyone else really pull off what she pulled off.

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Xiu Xiu

Xiu Xiu was everything I’d anticipated, though I missed the presence of Angela Seo. They’ve been one of my favorites for many years. First of all, they were loud enough to drown out all those assholes in the crowd, so YAY for that. Second, percussionist Shayna Dunkelman added an entirely different energy than Angela or her predecessor, Caralee McElroy. Whereas Angela held perfectly the brooding nature of Xiu Xiu’s graphically tortured material, Shayna bounced and whacked drums with a manic pixie glee that seemed innocently joyful but with a hint of fem-dom sadism. Her energy seemed to carry over to Jamie Stewart who, in spite of the traumatic nature of the material, also seemed to be having fun. The big surprise of the night was their arrangement of “Sad Pony Guerrilla Girl.” On both the new album and the subsequent tour, Stewart abandoned guitars in favor of synths, oscillators, and sample pads. It was stark, confrontational, harrowing, and explosive – almost diametrically opposite to the warm but wilting original. “Stupid in the Dark” hit with even greater indignation and ferocity, and “A Knife in the Sun” quaked the ground.

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Newaxeyes

Seattle’s Newaxeyes opened the show in a compelling nature with heavy beats and noisy soundscapes, apparently weathered some hefty guitar technical difficulties throughout the duration. Whatever broke, it didn’t affect the show. This is another in a long line of of those badass Cornish kids who seem to spin gold everywhere they go. Don’t miss these guys.

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Xiu Xiu

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Circuits des Yeux

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