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Standards and standouts at the Capitol Hill Block Party
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Standards and standouts at the Capitol Hill Block Party

by James Whitely - SGN Contributing Writer

Capitol Hill Block Party
July 24-25
Capitol Hill


The July 24-25 Capitol Hill Block Party was a two-day music festival tucked away between 12th and Broadway. It was mostly rock, with a little hip-hop, jam band, and a few DJs playing in between acts. This year's headlining acts were Sonic Youth and The Jesus Lizard - both icons in their own right. All in all, 45 bands played.

For a $25 daily ticket price, there were plenty of bands to excite patrons on three different stages: the Vera stage, put together by Seattle's local Vera Project, a nonprofit music and arts center run by and for youth, the Neumos stage, and the main stage, set up on the corner of Broadway and Pike.

Some of the highlights were The Thermals, a pop punk band from Portland, Oregon, Gossip from Olympia, Washington, and Starfucker, a four-piece, also from Portland. Three members of Starfucker, which is an all-male band, came out in dresses. The band's drummer seemed to put forth a real effort, wearing a wig to compliment his colorful pastel dress.

Wild Rose was within the gated Block Party and therefore shut off from the public for the duration of the weekend. Unfortunately, the Lesbian bar that does a high volume of Friday and Saturday business remained largely empty. As one patron described, "The Block Party is an eclectic party, but most Lesbians aren't going to pay the $25 cover to get into Wild Rose this weekend."

Although not specifically a Gay event, The Capitol Hill Block Party was altogether eclectic. The hipsters came out with their tight jeans, the punks came out with their studded jackets and their Mohawks, and the jocks came out with their purple UW shirts and flip-flops. The age range seemed to be anywhere from 15 to 35 years old.

On Saturday night, Sonic Youth played to a large crowd. The band gained notoriety in the '90s, becoming the voice of a generation. Outside the confines of the Block Party gates, a crowd gathered around the Shell gas station to hear the band. Some of the ticket defectors later told me that it didn't matter that they couldn't see them. "We just sat, listened, and let ourselves be taken away," they said, as the band played familiar songs.

Aside from the headliners, the band that really stood out was Spinnerette, who played the main stage Friday afternoon. However, I didn't head to the stage to see Spinnerette specifically. Spinnerette's frontwoman, Brody Dalle, is the former frontwoman of The Distillers, an early 2000s punk legacy. Brody's raspy voice, reminiscent of Courtney Love, swept me away. Always one to put on a show with attitude, she got drunk on stage and spit almost all the way into the audience.

Dalle fan Angela Kinchler said she admired Brody's "poise, face, and body." I asked another fan, Lisa Sherman, to describe Brody in one word, to which she replied, "delicious."

This year's Capitol Hill Block Party was well received. Food, mainly street vendor barbeque and Asian fare, was readily available. The drinks at the beer garden were a thrifty $4. However, many people were upset about ticket prices, due to an increase from last year. Still, the excitement level reached its peak at nightfall, when the headliners played and the alcohol flowed in abundance.

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