Katie Kate at the Vera Stage
  • Photo by Amber Cortes
  • Katie Kate at the Vera Stage

The Capitol Hill Block Party is now in full gear, people! Day 2 was spent soaking in as much sun and music as humanly possible. People were out, spirits were high, food trucks and beer gardens were packed, and giant beach balls were thrown around. Between all that, so many amazing bands graced the CHBP stages today it was hard to keep track, just a whirlwind of great tunes in the middle of summer in the heart of the Hill.

What can beat that?

Here are some of the highlights:

Katie Kate

Katie Kate can do it all!
  • Photo by Amber Cortes
  • Katie Kate can do it all!

Wow. So impressed. Katie Kate can sing, she can rap, and she can dance! She's an amazing, versatile and talented performer fresh out of Seattle's growing hip hop scene. But you can't say her music is one genre or another - mixing pop, electronic, and hip hop with dance-y, catchy tunes. And all self-produced. Keep an eye on this one, she's going to go far.

Future Shock

Future Shocks masks: kind of creepy, yet somehow cool.
  • Photo by Amber Cortes
  • Future Shock's masks: kind of creepy, yet somehow cool.

Ok, I admit it. I was a *little* put off at first by the long silver beak and black ski masks. But this Seattle-based "afro new wave" (hmm, whatever that is) duo has a kind of 'je ne sais quoi' sound that makes you think David Bowie meets P-Funk meets Kraftwerk. Energetic, lively, emitting a sort of 80's nostalgia, yet not really a throwback band at all, Future Shock is like a time warp of decades and styles put in a blender and served up with a kind of odd twist. And of course, you wonder what is behind those masks...


EMA rocks the Main Stage
  • Photo by Amber Cortes
  • EMA: noisy, fuzzy, perfect.

Rocking a Therapy? tee shirt, lo-fi darling EMA took the stage and promptly belted out some sonic beats and intense emo vocals. In her usual laid-back style, EMA mesmerized the crowd as she shifted from grainy, moody textures to more upbeat and dance-focused beats.


No one said put your hands down yet! Sol at the CHBP
  • Photo by Amber Cortes
  • "No one said put your hands down yet!" Sol at the CHBP

Man, did Solzilla get the crowd pumped! Seattle rapper SOL had everyone's hands in the air when he hit the stage bringing out the groove and his solid, lyrical flow. Sol's been on the scene, slowly but surely building up a strong following and a reputation as being "the next Mackelmore" — due to his socially-conscious rhymes and smooth, well-produced rhythms. But he's got a sound of his own, and didn't disappoint.

Country Lips

Fiddlin around with the Country Lips
  • Photo by Amber Cortes
  • Fiddlin' around with the Country Lips

How many guys are in this band, like, 100? There's at least two guitarists, a drummer, a keyboard player, an accordionist, a violin player…the list goes on. But it sure does help with that down-home, full and rich country sound. This talented group of charmers have a toe-tappin', fun and vibrant style and unparalleled stage energy. Also, glitter-covered cowboy hats? I think I'm in love.

Breaks and Swells

Breaks and Swells flows.
  • Photo by Amber Cortes
  • Breaks and Swells flows.

Soulful, classy, expressive, percussive — just a few words you can use to describe this funky, fun, nine-piece Seattle band. The Barboza stage was packed — people were letting loose and dancing up a storm to good old jazzy and blues riffs as lead singer Marquetta Miller's sugary coated vocals gave a sweet flavor to the sound.