There was only one line longer than the Big Mario's line on Saturday at Capitol Hill Block Party 2016. In the middle of the day, with the sun out and shining down, keeping everyone warm, the line to get out of it and down into the basement shelter of Cha Cha was stacked fifty deep at pretty much any moment. Much like the excellent descent of Head Wound City from the Vera stage to the Cha Cha stage last night, today's phenomenal lineup and local love for Cha Cha is exactly what makes Block Party the place to be. The electronic headliner stack of Odesza, Big Wild, and Tourist sold more tickets than any other day this weekend, but it was evident that the love did not stop there by any means. With local fire playing all day downstairs, Day 2 of Capitol Hill Block Party kept the family close for some great times.Kicking the day off at Cha Cha was one of the city's brightest up and coming talents, Lisa Prank. While some may have been introduced from her vocal contributions to Childbirth tune "You're Not My Real Dad", in the last couple weeks, Lisa Prank (Robin Edwards) has gotten some phenomenal press off releasing new album Adult Teen, in which she projects teen pop-punk angst along the spectrum of the millennial 20's, soundtracked by cavity-inducing sweetness on guitar and Roland 505. Edwards dials the quirk up to 11 and there's nothing in her presentation that attempts to hide it. But that doesn't mean her honest to goodness songwriting doesn't resonate with plenty of fans that find themselves trying to make sense of the same madcap hijinks that we all seem to get ourselves into in the ominous shadow of settled adulthood. Lisa Prank's crowd turnout was excellent for the early time slot, and near-mosh pits broke out all over the place to her collection of cheery jingles. Edwards got a full day of stunted adolescence started off right.
America's band Dude York are no strangers to Block Party or to Capitol Hill basements. Maybe that's why they seemed like one of the most naturally captivating acts to appear all day. The band last released a full-length record in 2014 with the excellent Dehumanize, but this year, we got a fresh 7" single with "Lose Control"/"Love Is", and it's evident that exciting things are on the horizon for these guys. "Love Is", played as part of the band's set here today, showcases Claire rocking lead vocals like a champ! Seeing Peter and Claire share the face of the band is a welcome evolution, as the energy against the front of the stage really doubles. For example, I don't think any band got moshing started faster than Dude York today. Cha Cha was an endless pile of bodies, lining the front of the "stage" and packed all the way to the top of the stairs and out the door. And yet, the love wasn't enough for Dude York to break from their usual goofy commentary on whatever event they are playing. Wrapping up the set, Peter dived into the crowd with zero remorse, taking egregious flash selfies as he pushed his way through the throng. Truly, with Dude York, you can have it all.
SSDD (words by Zach Frimmell)
The raucousness that is SSDD (Steal Shit Do Drugs) matched the raucous nature that is generally Cha Cha during, and not during, Captiol Hill Block Party. With an acerbically abrasive name like SSDD, spectators probably knew what kind of raised hell they were about to witness. Having just last month released their new EP Trash Can Demos on cassette, the Seattle subversives have been testing out some high-voltage jams. Between Jermaine Blair and Ricky Claudon channeling their no wave, post-punk guitar mania, Pete Capponi (drums) and Erika Mayfield (bass) holding down the jolty rhythm section, and Kennedy Carda flambeing his nihilistic showmanship, the fivesome opened up a time capsule of artpunk cacophony in the present. Carda's braying, screaming, moaning, and overall range of explosive expressions, like power slamming into the crowd to instigate a thrash pit on their last song, were reminiscent of a mellifluously drunken Spencer Moody or any Pop-Group-praising pariah. The at times atmospherically atonal, anti-pop music of SSDD combined with their garage-thrashing discord makes for quite the amazingly intense show and gritty contrast to anyone seeking a reprieve from the EDM-heavy CHBP lineup.
Boyfriends took the Cha Cha stage next. Like many of the Hill's punk acts, this Cha Cha performance is far from Boyfriends' only performance this weekend, playing at the Unicorn and probably a couple other spots. I feel like the band's whole off the cuff approach to its existence gives them a charm best accentuated at Cha Cha. This day shares some significance for the young band, as it is the one-year anniversary of their first show ever together. Well, in that year, Boyfriends have made waves, racking up a Block Party appearance and releasing a great 7" record this past February called "I Thought We Had Plans". Today's performance included plenty of brash, quippy punk magic, as well as a great cover of Modern Lovers classic "Roadrunner". I can only imagine what will happen with another year.
Check back to the KEXP blog for more Capitol Hill Block Party 2016!
Much talk surrounding Capitol Hill Block Party's 2016 notes the intentionally electronic turn that the festival made this year with its headlining choices. Of those, the crowning evening of the weekend had to go to Saturday night, where hometown heroes ODESZA played to maybe the biggest crowd eve...