Of the 20+ bands I saw at the Capitol Hill Block Party, Sleepy Eyes of Death, Truckasauras and Akimbo stand out as my favorites. Neumos hosted all three and each made full use of the exceptional sound system. Most of the rest of the Block Party sped past in a blur.
My first stop after getting my re-entry stamp was to obtain a beer garden wristband. While enjoying our first beverages, my friends and I were approached by a guy who suggested we walk the few steps to Caffe Vita‘s bean room where Hey Marseilles was about to start a secret set. I’ve seen Hey Marseilles several times and didn’t hesitate – we headed over and were seated just in time.
After Hey Marseilles’ beautiful set, I bounced between the mainstage area, VERA’s stage and Neumos, catching bits here and there. Both the main and VERA stages were packed all day, and I didn’t feel like fighting my way to the front. Even when cowering in the shade a block away, I could hear the main stage acts just fine.
As The Blakes cleared Neumos’ stage, their fans cleared the venue and I moved in and waited for Sleepy Eyes of Death. It’s not possible to overstate my love for Sleepy Eyes – I bought my Friday Block Party ticket before I knew of anyone else on the lineup. They played an incredible set and I can’t wait to see them again at Bumbershoot.
I have no recollection of making my way to the VERA stage after Sleepy Eyes – I found myself standing reasonably close to the stage for some of Past Lives‘ set.
Then it was back to the main stage where Built to Spill was playing one of my favorite songs – “Else”.
I’ve wanted to see They Live! for awhile, and they snapped me out of my Built to Spill/Earth stupor with their energetic set.
The Jesus Lizard is a band I needed to be near the front for, but wasn’t. They sounded great, but I was too far away and too worn out to claw my way to the stage and enjoy them as I wanted.
Saturday was hot, and I lazed around at home longer than planned – making it back to Capitol Hill in time to see Fences.
I accidentally timed my wanderings perfectly to be right at the front for Akimbo, and stayed there for their terrific set.
New Faces packed in the crowd at the VERA stage.
I knew Truckasauras would play to a full house, so I waited at the stage after The Maldives cleared out and watched them set up. I have never experienced a group like Truckasauras and was excited to hear some new material – especially the remix/cover of Sleepy Eyes of Death’s song “Crushed By Stars”, which was incredible.
Neumos Sound Engineer Evan LaSure chats with Truckasauras before their set.
I was treated to They Live! twice over the course of the Block Party – they joined Truckasauras onstage and energized the crowd.
From where I stood, Sonic Youth sounded like a standard rock band. I love Sonic Youth and had never seen them before Saturday. It could be that I was totally spent, was a full block away, or wanted them to play a noise set, but I decided to leave a bit early and listen on the walk to the bus stop, skipping the after-events… or so I thought.
As I settled in for the ride back to the U-District, I realized I was freakishly thirsty and wanted a beer and a huge glass of water. I stopped off at the Blue Moon and much to my happy surprise, the Greenriver Thrillers were setting the stage for their headlining set. The Greenriver Thrillers play lively tight punk music that is somehow soothing, though wonderfully noisy.
I couldn’t have asked for better company or a better band to end my Block Party weekend. These awful photos of Greenriver Thrillers show how tired I was, but I loved their set and will see them again as soon as possible.