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Fucking in the Streets

Recapping the Block Party

Fucking in the Streets

Erin Resso

MIKACHU & THE SHAPES

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First, it should be noted that the Capitol Hill Block Party's new layout—with the Main Stage at Broadway and Pike, freeing up the main intersection at 10th and Pike for foot traffic—was a welcome change from years prior, as you could actually move from stage to stage freely.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was Micachu & the Shapes, an arty, lo-fi London trio about whom many of my peers were raving, but whose debut album, Jewellery, had left me cold. As I approached the stage, I thought the band's set was just going to confirm my antipathy. It sounded like droney, half-formed art-school shenanigans (and I like art-school shenanigans) with just a hint of R&B buried alive underneath. But then they played a song that was all rim-shot click, bass groove, and digital ringing percussion, and it sounded great—drone as pop, the R&B clawing its way up to the surface of the song (something about "old debris," maybe?). The song ended in an epic thrash, and then there was another groovy number that spiked into noise at the end. I may have to revisit that record.

Built to Spill were expectedly fantastic, their fan-selected set hitting many high points from their catalog. "You Were Right" was scathing and skyscraping (and bong-scraping and ultimately hopeful). It started raining just a little, pleasant and warm, during the kid-sized wonder of "Big Dipper." "Virginia Reel Around the Fountain" sounded fantastic, even without Calvin Johnson's parts (confidential to Jeff: This is as close as you may ever get to seeing the Halo Benders at Block Party). And, goddamn, it was great to see the band play "Car."

They Live! killed it in the headlining slot at Neumos that night. The duo of MCs Dro Boy (aka Gatsby, Larry Mizell Jr.) and Bruce Illest (aka djblesOne) are plenty entertaining on their own—genial, cartoonishly animated, and totally on top of their game—but their backup breakdancer, Chase, along with an accomplice, damn near stole the show. Whether twitchily stalking the stage like a meth-head on the song of the same name or pulling a lucky lady onstage for a re-creation of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" video (complete with the Boss's awesome Carlton-esque dance move), Chase is the act's not-at-all-secret weapon.

Saturday was more of a blur: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were sweet, but some found them a little flat (I will concede that their live show isn't quite up to the impossibly high standard set by their self-titled album). Truckasauras debuted some fine new material, glitchy and groovy and bass-thumping, in a sweltering Neumos. Future of the Left delivered hilarious banter (asking for more heat onstage; observing that they had more wristbands, but fewer STDs, than a Mötley Crüe groupie) briefly punctuated by blistering, bilious rock. Gossip ruled, never more so than during those cymbal-destroying crescendos of "Standing in the Way of Control" (interpolating Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" into "Listen Up" gets a close second). Missed too much of Sonic Youth (I know, I know) watching Japandroids, who kind of resemble a kinder, gentler Death from Above 1979 live. recommended

 

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That's weird, I thought I went to a block party with the same name on the same Friday night with most of these same bands playing. Only the block party I went to also had a band called the Jesus Lizard who played their first set in Seattle since being banned in '96. Weird, totally weird.
Posted by Richard Nose on August 5, 2009 at 10:56 AM · Report this

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