We're a lucky bunch living where we do. The Northwest definitely doesn't lack for entertaining music-related events, and the sixth annual Capitol Hill Block Party is the rock/hiphop/punk/pop/funk/dance party The Stranger is the most excited about, especially this year, when we have over 45 bands representing how deep this region's musical talent goes (plus one guest from the Bay Area, Erase Errata, who we couldn't resist getting involved). And while The Stranger covers national/touring acts that peak our interest, we'll always have a strong foothold in covering the local acts that work hard to push this music community forward, because without the local bands, this city would be in a sad state of affairs. Besides, as this lineup shows, there's a gold mine of excellent bands in the Northwest right now.

Although Seattle never completely disappeared from the media's hype map, the press has placed its fickle adoration on other places over the last couple years, while this area has not-so-quietly spilled over with great bands in practically every genre. There's hardly a week that goes by when there isn't at least one killer show (and more often than not, two or three) involving our local talent. From punk to pop, avant to indie rock, hiphop to hardcore, classical, electronica, folk, jazz, experimental, and beyond, we're living in an exciting time for music in this city, and it's a commotion other cities are starting to take notice of as well (with mentions popping up in places like Spin, the New York Times, and Rolling Stone). But that's all old--but good--news that anyone who's been paying attention to Northwest bands knows already.

If The Stranger could have it all our way, we'd have every single act we love represented, in all the genres this paper covers, but as it is, we only have two days to get everyone on four stages, so the paring down had to start somewhere. While this is by no means the be all and end all on the best of the best in the Northwest, we feel this is a very strong representation of why the Northwest's music community is one of the healthiest in the nation. And what better way to celebrate that fact than a weekend of bands, beer, putt-putt golf, dunk tanks, theatrical acts, artist and food booths, and a couple local politicians who are working to support our music scene, all corralled together in one place? But enough of the serious talk--time to get drunk, get us dunked, and give our local scene all the support it deserves. JENNIFER MAERZ

wHO dOEs tHE BloCK




James Keblas and Shannon Stewart founded Seattle's Vera Project in 1999 with hopes of creating a successful volunteer-run all-ages art and music space (based on Vera, the Dutch music and film venue). They've done well. After switching venues a couple times (they first started at Local 46, then moved to Theater Off Jackson), they've finally settled into a more permanent space on Fourth Ave. With help from the many young volunteers, the Vera Project continues to be a reliable space for all-ages music of all genres and is expanding its programming to include visual art, open mics, and more. For more information and for the latest show calendar, visit www.theveraproject.org.


In the summer of 1993, Mia Zapata, frontwoman for the Gits, was murdered while walking home from a bar. As a direct response, Home Alive was founded and has since been working hard to create a society free from violence and hate. Seems like an endless struggle, to be sure, but they're up for the challenge. Home Alive, among other things, offers affordable self-defense classes and workshops, and organizes events to raise awareness for its cause. To find out more and to get information about upcoming workshops, visit www.homealive.org.