Preview: Capitol Hill Block Party – Day 3, Sun. 7/24

Day three of Capitol Hill Block Party adds the Red Bull Sound Select Stage (at Neumos) to the mix. Red Bull Sound Select presents shows worldwide with local curators; Seattle’s curators include Sub Pop and Good to Die Records. We love that here at Back Beat Seattle. And, I think I say this about every festival, but it’s important: drink lots of water and wear sunscreen.

2:30-3:15 @ the Main Stage

Maiah Manser

The groovy Maiah Manser appears at CHBP in an afternoon Main Stage slot. It’s fantastic to see this young and talented performer get such exposure. I’m truly glad Manser will bring her lovely vocals and songs to the festival. Get a little sun, get a lot of her awesome voice. Well done!

Maiah Manser – photo by Megumi Shauna Arai


4:15 @ the Red Bull Sound Stage

The Spider Ferns

One of two acts I recommend you catch at the Red Bull Sound Stage is Seattle’s the Spider Ferns. Duo Kelly Fleek and Alton Fleek are badass electronic musicians. Kelly Fleek is another local vocalist I love. Her voice, high and sweet, catches all the right spots in the band’s songs. I encourage you to see their set.

The Spider Ferns


5:00-5:30 @ the Vera Stage


The female vocalists are absolutely on fire this Sunday. Next up is Sassyblack, the soul project of Catherine Harris-White. Harris-White, who was 1/2 of THEESatisfaction, has her own work now. Her album, No More Weak Dates (love that tile), is out right now. Hang with her at the Vera Stage.



9:00 @ the Red Bull Sound Stage


Portland, Oregon’s Wampire takes us back to the Red Bull Sound Stage. Can I place them in a weird pop category? Are there hooks to Wampire’s songs? Yes, there are, even in a track called “Too Stoned,” where you’d expect (and forgive) them to disappear in all that cool weirdness.



5:15-6:00 @ the Main Stage

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable, a Welsh rock trio who has managed to produce all three of their records, are always popular here. Generally Seattle likes loud alternative rock. Right? So get ready to embrace the Joy Formidable, who will play one of its biggest Seattle show’s yet on Sunday. And how weird is that YouTube video paused on a unicorn and a bare ass?

The Joy Formidable – photo by Simon Krane


9:45-11:00 @ the Main Stage


CHVRCHES, another trio, this one from Scotland, closes the CHBP. I love their synth music, but I am also partial to a Scottish accent, so I hope, for everyone’s sakes, they will say a few words. Anyway, CHVRCHES’ latest song, “Bury It,” features Paramore’s Hayley Williams. Nice!

CHVRCHES – photo by Kirk Stauffer


Meghan Trainor @ WaMu Theater

Seattle was the second stop on Meghan Trainor’s North American Untouchable Tour. The sold out show at the WaMu Theater was filled with 7000 moms and daughters. Backed by a seven-member band and flanked by four dancers, Trainor’s 90-minute set included three costume changes. Near the end, she brought four kids on stage during “Friends.”

California-based Common Kings opened the show. Hailee Seinfeld, of True Grit and Perfect Pitch 2 fame, was up next, appropriately dressed in a Seattle Seahawks 12th Man jersey.

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Preview: Capitol Hill Block Party – Day 2, Sat. 7/23

Capitol Hill Block Party‘s second day catches my eye as a day to spend mostly at Neumos. You’ll be just fine wherever else you end up, but check out who’s there. And ODESZA makes its presence known on the Hill with top billing at the Main Stage. Oh, and this might be a bit dorky of me to point out, but CHBP has some cool local store deals where if you spend a certain amount, you can get two free tickets to your day of choice. No one asked me to mention this. I just like a deal.

4:00-4:45 @ Neumos

Tilson XOXO

The charming hip hop artist Tilson XOXO has an early slot on Neumos’ stage this year. It’s wonderful to see this Seattle musician back in action (where has he been?), and I can only hope there will be more recordings from him – Tilson XOXO please do that. Refresher: If you can look back at Seattle’s Saturday Knights, Tilson XOXO was in the group.

Tilson XOXO

Away the Sun – NPOW / Tilson XOXO from Joseph Wiscomb on Vimeo.


4:45-5:30 @ the Main Stage


The great Thunderpussy outside on Capitol Hill? Yes! Don’t accuse me of recommending this band based on name only. Thunderpussy is a rock band with a highly entertaining stage performance. Sasquatch also had Thunderpussy on its lineup this year.

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Thunderpussy – photo by Tino Tran


5:15-6:00 @ Neumos


Calling itself “pop rnb dance party” seems just right to me. I also nominate Bardot as one of the absolute must-see bands at Capitol Hill Block Party. A great combination including members of the Catch and the Lashes, Bardot is a lovable pop outfit.

Bardot – photo by Jenny Jimenez

BARDOT, Give It Up from BARDOT BAND on Vimeo.


5:45-6:15 @ Barboza


Screens (a band I could say is one of the best examples of genre-defiance I’ve heard) takes you to the basement of Neumos, AKA Barboza. I could see Screens’ trippy character bothering you; however, the music is definitely challenging, and there’s a lot to take in and to enjoy.



6:30-7:15 @ Neumos

Duke Evers

Seattle rhythm and blues trio Duke Evers almost has its debut full-length album released! Called Velvet Hips, the band’s site says it’s coming soon. I don’t know when. I can say you’ll want to see their set at Neumos (when I saw Duke Evers at Capitol Hill Block Party 2014, the band was in Barboza – they’re moving up!). Formerly a duo, the guitarist and drummer recently added bassist Dune Butler. You’ll want to hear the difference live.

Duke Evers


6:45-7:15 @ the Cha Cha Stage

Steal Shit Do Drugs

I’d wait to eat dinner after you see Steal Shit Do Drugs, not before. Why? SSDD gets a vote from me for band most likely to have a truly wild audience. I can imagine things getting broken. I hope that doesn’t scare you away from the set. SSDD is legitimate punk rock, post-punk or otherwise.

Steal Shit Do Drugs


7:45-8:30 @ Neumos


Electronic and catchy duo Sego gets the evening started at Neumos. This pair has the distinction of being the only band at Capitol Hill Block Party with an actual store of their own clothes, etc. I think. And I don’t mean Sego merchandise. I mean the guys’ stuff. I like this Los Angeles-based group.



8:45-9:15 @ Barboza

Scott Yoder

Seattle’s Scott Yoder, who was the singer of local trio Pharmacy, has already hit the road in Europe and the States. Why do I say already? Because he only started releasing material last year. His debut EP, Looking Black In Blue, which got released an Italian label, is groovy with a capital G. Unrelated to his music, but nice fact: Yoder’s booking email is

Scott Yoder – photo by Chiara Viola Donati


9:45-11:00 @ the Cha Cha Stage

Bread & Butter

Ah Bread & Butter. I always recommend the Rolling Stones-inspired Bread & Butter. The group’s web site promises the quartet will have a debut album in Autumn of 2016. On July 21st they’ll film a pool party video, so if you want part of that action head over to that site.

Bread & Butter


10:30-12:00 @ the Main Stage


If you are at Capitol Hill Party on Saturday, chances are you’re seeing the extraordinary electronic duo ODESZA for sure anyway. Why am I even mentioning ODESZA will play the festival? Maybe, just maybe you don’t know the duo. Not likely. I’m such a fan I saw two of three of their Seattle shows. In a row. I would have seen the third if it had been possible.




Preview: Capitol Hill Block Party – Day 1, Fri. 7/22

Capitol Hill Block Party starts its annual takeover of Capitol Hill on Friday, July 22nd. Before I get into day one’s highlights, I need to point out that STRKFR will do a DJ set at Neumos on Thursday evening to kick off the festivities. The following days, five stages will have numerous acts, displaying many of Seattle’s best bands – plus cool touring artists. Block Party produces shows during the entire year, so rest assured it knows what’s what. Right, now on with five groups you must catch on Friday.

6:00-6:30 @ the Vera Stage

Iska Dhaaf

Seattle lost Iska Dhaaf to Brooklyn a couple years ago, but luckily for us, the duo returns to the area with some frequency (for, example, especially deserved headlining gigs). Description? ’60s rock? Melodic goodness? Iska Dhaaf’s songs, written by band members Nathan Quiroga (guitar, voice) and Benjamin Verdoes (drums, voice), don’t really fit any genre. And that’s all the better.

Iska Dhaaf– photo by Jordan Strong


7:45-8:45 @ the Main Stage

Coming from Odense, Denmark (also the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen!), MØ’s shared her vocals on tracks with Iggy Azalea, DJ Snake and. . . Justin Bieber. Her debut album, No Mythologies to Follow, brought her loads of international attention as a solo artist. While her second album is in development, she told DIY Magazine: “Writing is my therapy.” Do I sound like a jerk if I want her to stay in therapy?



8:15-9:00 @ the Vera Stage

Dilly Dally

Grunge lives on awesomely in Toronto, Canada’s Dilly Dally. I saw this band open for Fat White Family in Seattle this year, and they sure were vigorous. I don’t know what they were singing about. I could barely make out one instrument from the other. Somehow this quartet made it all sound excellent.

Dilly Dally – photo by Rcstills


8:45-9:15 @ the Cha Cha Stage


Down on the Cha Cha Stage (basement of Bimbo’s), you’ll find DONZIS. Capitalized – rightly so. This is rock music like you just don’t always hear these days. I keep waiting for Seattle to embrace THE ROCK N ROLL again; perhaps DONZIS can help with that.



9:20-10:15 @ the Vera Stage

Head Wound City

Supergroup Head Wound City might just be uncontainable. Block Party knows this, and have accordingly put them on an outdoor stage. Made up of members from the Blood Brothers, the Locust and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Head Wound City bring their second album in 11 years, New Wave of Violence (wow), to Seattle. It’s hardcore verging on metal. In other words, hot stuff.

Head Wound City


Video: Calvin Harris’ “This is What You Came For”

Artist: Calvin Harris (featuring Rihanna)
Song/Video: “This is What You Came For”
Why You Want to Listen/Watch: I can’t get enough of this Calvin Harris song. The EDM track features Rihanna, and the video showcases her as well. Wearing a sexy onesie, Rihanna sings and dances in an electronic cube with a variety of visuals projected on it. And there are lasers. Naturally.