A friend had gifted me tickets to the Capitol Hill Block Party; which seemed an opportunity too good to pass up! Having not attended an American music festival before, this seemed a good stepping stone to larger events in Seattle such as Bumbershoot.
Upon first glance, Capitol Hill had all the hallmarks of a lively and interesting music festival – eccentric characters, rabid fans, funky stalls filled with culinary and crafty delights, and the unavoidable queues for the bathrooms. The inclusion of three stages ensured that there was enough variety to suit most people, while maintaining an event intimate enough to be held in the middle of the city – making it accessible for everyone. Genius!
One of my must-see acts of the day was the highly recommended Truckasauras – while I had not had the pleasure of seeing them live before, I’d seen some great footage on YouTube and have quite the fondness for bleepy noises.
The boys brought it in spades – the nerdy yet innovative use of a Gameboy Advance as well as the more conventional turntable showed that Truckasauras make serious music, with a lighthearted twist. An installation-art factor revealed itself in the form of a serious of movie clips projected from a trio of VCR machines – my favourite was ‘Bloodsport’, although the inclusion of ‘Rambo’ and ‘Ghostbusters 2’ earned some happy nostalgia from fans.
The crowd loved it. Both floors of Neumos were tightly packed with a throng of enthusiastic and energetic fans, who paid no heed to the heat nor the humidity and wasted no time in getting their collective groove on.
Then ‘They Live!’ sauntered onstage, and the crowd totally lost it.
While the Truckasauras crew may have been somewhat lacking in stage presence, They Live! brought massive amounts of ego, hype and playing off the crowd – the perfect complement to the backdrop that is the larger-than-life Truckasauras sound. Their appearance was definitely a massive set highlight, and one not easily followed up – but Truckasauras came through with a cover of Sleepy Eyes of Death that kept the house pumping.
Neumos quickly filled to capacity again for Future of the Left, so I went to go check out The Noisettes. Unfortunately, there was some sort of lag as they were running well behind schedule – unsure what happened there!
Sonic Youth were the main event, and a drawcard I had greatly looked forward to. The photo above illustrates that I was right in the thick of the crowd – and while mingling with a lot of happy, hot music-lovers can make for a pretty good time, it also meant that the primary noise level was that of people talking, shouting and laughing, rather than Sonic Youth getting their intricate riffs on.
Fortunately, the Block Party atmosphere prevailed, and kept people partying long into the night. And sharing ‘Hey Joni’ with a streetful of people was pretty awesome.
By Nicky Andrews