Capitol Hill Block Party

sun setting on built to spill. photos by josh

sun setting on built to spill, photo by josh

I don’t know if you heard, but there was a Block Party in Capitol Hill last weekend? And the internet alternated between talking about it a lot and declaring loudly its intentions of being entirely elsewhere?

beth ditto of gossip (photo by josh)

beth ditto of gossip (photo by josh)

I spent it ambling between stages, enjoying the lack of crushing bottlenecks, since the mainstage was moved. Block Party, I appreciate the reconfiguring, but I still think you’re too big for your pants. Why are you spending so much energy bringing giant bands and totally missing the chance to keep being an awesome local festival? I hear that Sonic Youth was there, but it’s impossible to tell from a block away in a tightly packed crowd. Maybe a video screen next year, at least?

the pains of being pure at heart (photo by josh)

the pains of being pure at heart

Almost all of my highlights happened nowhere near the big stage, which is kind of sad given how dearly I love Gossip. (The exception to this was of course Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who are adorable and charming and terrific and who need to come back soon, pretty please.) In a Girls-off I think that our Girls would come out solidly the winners, although San Fransisco’s Girls did prove to be precious and charming in a way that I would enjoy more if they were opening for another band rather than competing with everyone else at a festival.

new faces

new faces

New Faces lived up to their reputation, making me pause to give myself a little lecture about always missing them every other time they’ve played in the last year. The Sing Sing reunion afterparty turned out to be a wildly packed, sweaty dance party full of too many straight boys with no rhythm but somehow still worth dancing my sore feet off to until 2 am. And Future of the Left stole…everything, with their jokes and grinding, yowling songs on the zillion degree Neumos stage.

sing sing at the capitol hill block party

sing sing at the capitol hill block party

As always, the local food vendors were a big highlight–I think Via Tribunali probably saved my life and definitely improved my disposition–and the dunk tank was hilarious no matter who was in it. The space in front of the Vera stage seemed narrower than usual, with a big booth pushed out off the sidewalk instead of up against the fence. The popsicles were welcome and the beer tents pretty efficient, and in all the Block Party was a lot more pleasant this year than it was last year.

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