Capitol Hill Block Party 2011

I was able to go to the Capitol Hill Block Party on Fri and Sat of the 3 day event.  It was a good time as usual but also as usual it was tough to choose which bands to see and which ones to miss.  For those not familiar with this event, they have bands playing at different stages overlapping each other, and some of us like more than one type of music, although I think their intent was to try to group the genres together.  The weather was perfect however and it seemed like most of Seattle was there.  One of the highlights of Friday, other than the good bands, was getting to see Gumby.  I don’t know what someone is doing still running around promoting this old character, but anyhow, he was there running around.  We just thought it was funny that he appeared above us from a building window as a show on the main stage was going on.  I was able to get a pic or two of that just because it was so random.

Here is who I was able to see and what I thought of them:


Fresh Espresso: this band was pretty cool but I admit I’m not the ultimate rap fan, so it wasn’t my favorite performance.

Kurt Vile and the Violators: very cool rock from a guy who you could hardly see because of his long hair.

Woods: fun folksy rock band unbelievably not from the northwest.  But of course they knew where some of their big fans would be.

Ra Ra Riot: just a really nice sounding band.

The Head and the Heart: these guys have been around a while but its cool to see they are starting to get more radio play and become better known.  More fun folksy rock from the northwest.

Ghostland Observatory: I had heard some great things about this band, but I admit I didn’t know what to expect.  It’s just two guys.  One wearing a cape with the Texas flag on it playing all kinds of electronics and occasionally the drums, and the other a long haired guy who plays guitar and sings with a voice like Jimmy Page.  Their music was totally cool and their energy was great.  Their show was lit up by all kinds of lasers which just added to the coolness of the show.  I am officially a fan now.



Champagne Champagne: another local rap band.  Not bad, but again, not really my thing so I admit I’m a poor judge on this one.

Fences: a nice sounding rock band.  Recommended.

Lovesick Empire: this band had a great sound.  The female lead singer’s voice reminded me of PJ Harvey.

Eleanor Friedberger: this was a one gal band, at least in this performance.  Nice folksy music.

Telekinesis: fun rock n roll by a band led by a drummer.  That was cool to see.

The Lumineers: more folksy rock but a really fun band to watch live.  They know how to get the audience involved with their music to make it a little more fun than just watching.

Ravenna Woods: very cool rock n roll, also a bit folksy, but not as much as some of the bands I saw.

Austra: very melodic dance music from a girl with a beautiful voice and her backup singers providing nice harmonies.

Cold Cave: I would call this an electronic band hearkening back to Depeche Mode or other such bands of the 80s.  They had a good sound but their look was a bit funny to me.  The two main guys wore their leather jackets the entire set and you could tell they were really hot but wouldn’t take them off.  I guess they didn’t want to blow their image.  It was kind of funny to me that they would even bother wearing them on stage in a summer show.  Even though the show was inside, the doors were open, so only fans were there to keep the place from being unbearable.

The Young Evils: this was another fun folksy rock band that sounded great.  Their lead guitarist turned 30 that day apparently, so it was fun getting a chance to be a part of that.  They secretly passed out little handheld pictures of his face for the audience to hold up as we sang happy birthday to him.

Ononos: this band was quite the spectacle.  It is basically electronic, but the lead singer comes out in a full body suit so that you can’t see his face and dressed in a crazy sparkly outfit (check out the pictures as you have to see it; I know my description doesn’t quite cut it).  Anyhow, it was the strangest performance I saw the whole time, but they really surprised me with some cool rhythms. Everyone seemed to be won over by the end.

Sadly not all the photos I took from my phone turned out.  Sometimes I was just too far away from the stage and other times it was just too dark or too many lights were aimed right at the audience.  Oh well, I guess you should have been there yourself.  Maybe next year.

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