Alter Echo is a Portland-based hiphop and dub (he calls it dub-hop) producer. He has worked with DJ Spooky and renowned turntablist DJ Wicked (for this performance, he will be working with DJ Magneto) and his music is informed by Mantronix, RZA, and King Tubby, creating a futuristic hiphop that he launches from his heavy base of beats. He is also part owner of BSI, the label that houses local rap celebrity Onry Ozzborn.
Alter Echo & DJ Magneto, Sat, Vera Stage, 5 pm.
Quietly blending a dense mixture of male and female harmonies, keys, drums, guitars, and other sweet sounds, Asahi's music can lift the heaviest heart up into the clouds. You know that pretty song that's playing in your mind as you sit alone daydreaming in the summer sun? Yeah, that's Asahi.
Asahi, Sun,Vera Stage, 4 pm.
With former Scared of Chaka singer Dave Hernandez up front, it's hard to imagine anything less than memorable power pop coming from this band. Add former Murder City Devils drummer Coady Willis and Drew Church as the rhythm section and you get nothing less than kick-ass sonic voltage.
Broadcast Oblivion, Sat, Bad Juju, 12:45 am (technically Sunday morning).
The victims (or recipients, depending on how you view it) of Stranger editor Dan Savage's affection at last year's Block Party, Brian Standeford and company return again to tear another set of dark, rampant punk through the hearts of gay newspaper editors everywhere.
The Catheters, Sat, Vera Stage, 9 pm.
No other band in the city sounds like Cobra High, who blend several rock genres from the past 30 years into forward-moving, nearly indefinable compositions. If you're looking to be revived, this is a band to see.
Cobra High, Sat, Vera Stage, 4 pm.
Like sticking a wet finger in a pop socket, the Cripples shock catchy melodies with lots of keytar noise. They'll make your hair stand on end with the buzz and spark of their electrified punk, and will sneer through the vocals just to hammer their hooks home.
The Cripples, Sun, Bad Juju, 7:45 pm.
Don't make the mistake of being fashionably late, as Saturday's Vera Stage openers Display are worth losing those extra few minutes of sleep over. If Unwound's breakup left your heart aching, give the boys from Everett a chance--they might just salve your wounds.
Display, Sat, Vera Stage, noon.
The Divorce (once a trio, now a quartet) are quickly becoming a highly notable band around Seattle. Their new record, There Will Be Blood Tonight, is all over the place for good reason. It's rock, it's roll, it's danceable while still being totally tough, it's catchy but not in a "why won't this song go away?" sort of way... damn near perfect, we'd say.
The Divorce, Sat, Vera Stage, 2 pm.
DJ Dirtnap, AKA Ken Cheppaikode, owner of the illustrious punk label Dirtnap Records, spins a mix of old-school and new-school punk rock, with a couple surprises thrown in there as well.
DJ Dirtnap spins Sunday at the Bad Juju between bands.
DJ FRANKI CHAN
DJ Franki Chan is the assistant booking agent/publicist for Graceland as well as a poster/comic-book artist. He'll be playing a variety of hiphop, new wave, '80s, and soul, and he knows how to bring the party.
Franki Chan DJs Saturday at the Bad Juju between bands.
DJ GREG VANDY
Greg Vandy has been the host of KEXP's The Roadhouse for two years, a program that airs on Wednesdays from 6 to 9 pm and features roots rock, blues, Americana, soul, and other varieties of "down-home roots music." He's been working with the station since 1999, when it was still KCMU, and has stayed with it through the present day.
Greg Vandy DJs Sunday on the Main Stage between bands from 1 to 4:30 pm.
DJ MATT NICHOLS
Matt Nichols is known for entertaining bartenders, cab drivers, drug addicts, students, and convenience-store clerks all over Seattle with his overnight radio show on KEXP. He is also one of four rotating hosts on Audioasis, KEXP's local music program on Saturday nights. He is fiercely devoted to the music of the Pacific Northwest, and a tireless advocate of the perfect song, whatever the hell that means. He has written things and booked stuff too. Other than that, you've probably never heard of this guy.
Matt Nichols DJs Saturday on the Main Stage between bands from 11:30 am to 3:45 pm.
Now here's a band with some history. After 25 years of making records together, the members of Vancouver's seminal hardcore act, D.O.A., still work under the mantra "Talk -- Action = 0." The mayor of Vancouver declared December 21st D.O.A. Day; the band is releasing an autobiography called I, Shithead; and they recently re-released their first two records, among other accomplishments. Come witness their first Seattle show in two years.
D.O.A., Sun, Main Stage, 4:45 pm.
We can't think of anything better suited for a summer party than the warm sweetness that is Dolour. Following the charming ba bada da da das Shane Tutmarc sings over poppy, piano-led lines like, "No, there's a billion odd people that are better than me/But you don't know them, and they don't care about you," grab your crush's hand and go to the stage during Dolour's set. There will be plenty of "sweetly gaze into the eyes and stealing an innocent kiss" moments to be had there, we promise.
Dolour, Sun, Vera Stage, 6 pm.
The band that killed Teen Cthulhu? Take two parts Teen Cthulhu (in this case, the Nakamura brothers), and one part Zack Carlson (formerly of Black Man White Man Dead Man/Nervous System), and you've got... well, you pretty much know what you've got. Namely: stripped-down speed metal. Also: exactly what you want.
Doomsday 1999, Sun, Vera Stage, 3 pm.
Fresh off his emcee gig at the Gorge's Memorial Day weekend Sasquatch! Music Festival, El Vez--known around town for his crazy Mexican Elvis antics, and his current gig at Teatro ZinZanni as a lounge-singing gangster--will be on hand to regale the crowd with Mexified Presley hits.
El Vez, Sun, Main Stage, 9:15 pm.
Not only do Portland's Epoxies have great fashion sense, they also turn new wave on its head, spinning retro keyboard riffs around frontwoman Roxy Epoxy's '80s punk-diva vocals (at times, there are hints of a synth-heavy X). All in all, a great band to experience live.
The Epoxies, Sat, Main Stage, 12:15 pm.
Erase Errata make the simplest mess sound entirely too complex--and in doing so, run laps around every other post-punk (of the Raincoats/Slits/Liliput variety) throwback artist they're so often (and unfortunately) lumped along with. And to further substantiate their pedigree: The lovely ladies recently released a split single with Sonic (Fucking) Youth. Seriously.
Erase Errata, Sat, Main Stage, 4 pm.
Smear the eyeliner and tighten the pants, 'cause the Girls are strutting with their glam-pop like models on a catwalk (or the next coming of the New York Dolls). High on energy and low on stage fright, these five guys are all about snagging their latest (fashion) victim with their hook-laden anthems.
The Girls, Sun, Bad Juju, 10:15 pm.
Good garage rock should be performed without regard for stages, separations from the crowd, and other such inconsequential boundaries. But Gloryholes frontman Doug White takes his case much further, taking his mic on a trek through the audience and bringing some catchy rock 'n' roll through the speakers behind him.
The Gloryholes, Sat, Bad Juju, 6:30 pm.
Imagine a band that's equally rock-solid and off-kilter and you've got great motivation to check out Hint Hint. The dual keyboard/guitar/drums act made their live debut at last year's Block Party, and Cold Crush Records' Derek Fudesco signed them on the spot.
Hint Hint, Sat, Vera Stage, 3 pm.
HOLY GHOST REVIVAL
Holy Ghost Revival have the glam-rock thing down, swaggering through a David Bowie phase that just won't quit (not that it should). This is Seattle's own Velvet Goldmine of great material.
Holy Ghost Revival Sat, Vera Stage, 8 pm.
Featuring a member of the High Beams/ Thee Flying Dutchmen on guitar, the drummer from Pyramids, the bassist from A-Frames, and A-Frames' drummer as guitarist/frontman, the Intelligence are something of a newly configured supergroup. They sound like an excellent post-punk cross between A-Frames and Hot Snakes, with snarled intensity and angled rhythms jarring together in perfect collusion.
The Intelligence, Sun, Bad Juju, 5:15 pm.
JACKIE & THE CONTROL ToPs/uRSuLa & tHE ANdRoIDS
While Ursula & the Androids ride the nu-wave train fabulously off the tracks into tastelessness, Jackie & the Control Tops--the ying to Ursula's yang--are more garage-punk-freak. Although the two Pho Bang hostesses share the same backing band, Jackie goes for more gaudy-chic shtick, and the cultural horror-facts she mines for her songs are spot-on every time. Ursula is a fearless agitator of all that is sacred in American society--all sorts of inappropriate behaviors get trotted out on parade in her psycho-sexual lyrics, and dispensed as she teeters on Empire State Building stilettos while her synth-punk Androids bring in melodies from outer space.
Jackie & the Control Tops and Ursula & the Androids, Sat, Bad Juju, 10:15 pm.
The man indirectly responsible for all that is right and all that is wrong with music today. It's been 20 years since Beat Happening and K Records began their personal crusade to subvert the map of American independent rock music, right from our own state capital of Olympia--and still his baritone lingers on, for the new generation of the teenage nation.
Calvin Johnson, Sun, Vera Stage, 8 pm.
Who the hell are Kane Hodder and where the fuck did they come from? Their album (A Frank Exploration of Voyeurism and Violence) starts fast, with a "bang, bang, bang, bang" (literally, those are the lyrics) and only gets faster. And louder. And with more yelling and heavier guitars. Holy shit. You probably don't know who they are, these Kane Hodder fellas, but you really should.
Kane Hodder, Sun, Vera Stage, 2 pm.
THE KING COBRA
Olympia's epic metal three-piece the King Cobra features former Need/Kicking Giant dynamo Rachel Carns rattling skulls with her characteristically propulsive thump. Audio arithmetic.
The King Cobra, Sat, Vera Stage, 7 pm.
Kinski is hands down the heaviest psychedelic rock band in the city. Sonic maelstrom, bluster, and plenty of extra fuzz should make their outdoor, daylight performance a hallucinatory experience--weather permitting.
Kinski, Sat, Main Stage, 1:30 pm.
Maktub have been making the national rounds lately, garnering fame (and glowing reviews) from as far away as Boston for their rich, sexy, soulful sound, showcased on their recently re-released second album, Khronos. When the Seattle boys played the 2001 Block Party, they had the entire crowd dancing midday in the hot, hot sun. This year they get top billing, capping off Sunday night with what's sure to be a sultry street party.
Maktub, Sun, Main Stage, 7:45 pm.
Socially, politically, and musically conscious punks Mea Culpa keep one finger on the world around them and the other on writing great music with commanding vocals and an appreciation for Social Distortion.
Mea Culpa, Sat, Vera Stage, 1 pm.
MINUS THE BEAR
Intensely dedicated to touring, this will be one of the local appearances by this keyboard-augmented rock band featuring former members of Botch and Kill Sadie.
Minus the Bear, Sat, Main Stage, 5:30 pm.
The fiercely feminist Ms. Led have already been compared to so many Riot Grrrl bands (Sleater-Kinney, the Gits, Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, etc.) that you'd think they'd be trite and annoying. Nope. Ms. Led kick ass--in a surprisingly fresh way--and lead singer Lesli Wood is as much fun to watch rock out as she is to hear.
Ms. Led, Sun, Bad Juju, 9 pm.
NEW LUCK TOY
Early Brit punk and power pop collide in New Luck Toy's anxious, compulsively catchy act. Fronted by the hiccupping vocals of Stevil Dead, the band charts a path from the Buzzcocks and beyond, making them a hotly discussed talent in this city.
New Luck Toy, Sun, Bad Juju, 6:30 pm.
PEDRO THE LION
When we saw Pedro the Lion at the Block Party a few years back, it was hilarious because all of Pedro's pale, bearded, and sweater-clad fans were probably seeing the sun for the first time that year. They squinted their eyes as the ball of fire glared down on them, and suffered through the heat. And why? Because PTL's frustration-fueled indie-rock fire is totally worth it.
Pedro the Lion, Sun, Main Stage, 6:15 pm.
PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Thee of the ridiculously long moniker, Presidents of the United States of America (or PUSA) have recently returned from the '90s dustbin to slap around Seattle with their simple, catchy pop. Their songs are fun, short, and bouncy, and chances are you know the words to at least 10 of them.
Presidents of the United States of America, Sat, Main Stage, 8:30 pm.
PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES
Last year's Block Party appearance on the Main Stage gained Pretty Girls Make Graves hundreds of new fans. Their impressive musical performance--a blend of punk and weighty guitar rock--as well as singer Andrea Zollo's charming stage presence whipped the crowd into a frenzy.
Pretty Girls Make Graves, Sat, Main Stage, 7 pm.
Quirky, short blasts of indie rock meet equally clipped shards of art punk in the poppy fissions from this talented band that includes Shannon McConnell from the Fall-Outs.
The Pulses, Sat, Bad Juju, 7:45 pm.
Rotten Apples frontwoman Dejha Colantuono is the leader of her pack--and she's directing this new-wave band through a history of glam, girl groups, and bubblegum punk in one of the catchiest Empty Records acts around.
Rotten Apples, Sat, Bad Juju, 9 pm.
THE RUBY DOE
This three-piece has changed its sound often over the years, settling into a good melodic post-hardcore-meets-straight-up rock groove with songs like "Red Letter" (currently in rotation on 107.7 The End, and deservedly so). This show is a CD release party for their album Dream Engine Blue on Hometown Tragedy Records.
The Ruby Doe, Sat, Bad Juju, 11:30 pm.
SAINT BUSHMILL'S CHOIR
A Pogues cover band that started on a drunken dare is kind of a tautology, but no one's yelling out "last call!" on Saint Bushmill's Choir, a group that celebrates the brilliance of one of the most committed lushes on the planet, Shane MacGowan. This tribute counts local luminaries from Sanford Arms and the Gits in its ranks.
Saint Bushmill's Choir, Sun, Main Stage, 2 pm.
We've heard comparisons to everything from the Misfits to Blondie when it comes to the Heroes' rock-meets-metal-meets-radical sound, but really they're in a class all their own. Lead singer Ryann Donnelly is a female rock icon in the making, and it doesn't hurt that the rest of the band consists of the most badass (but still totally sweet) guys in the world.
Schoolyard Heroes, Sun, Vera Stage, 5 pm.
SILENT LAMBS PROJECT
Silent Lambs Project have been producing hiphop since the early '90s, when the duo (Jace and Blak) formed in the Central District. The band has released several dope cuts on K Records, and last year completed a fantastic EP called Street Talkin... Survival. SLP's music always operates at the difficult border of things, never the comfortable center.
Silent Lambs Project, Sat, Vera Stage, 6 pm.
There's a good reason why the Spits are one of the most popular punk acts in this city--this is a damn good band. Not only do they write the kind of gruff chant-anthems that would please a crowd of restless soccer hooligans, but they dress up in different costumes almost every time they play, making every Spits show a party in the making.
The Spits, Sun, Bad Juju, 11:30 pm.
UNITED STATE OF ELECTRONICA
Some bands get the kids to dance, but USE get the kids to really dance, like what happens at real clubs where all the DJ has to do is hit that one track and the crowd goes apeshit. There are no turntables here--just a seven-member band that sounds like Daft Punk with an innocent sense of humor, giggling all the way to center stage.
United State of Electronica, Sun, Vera Stage, 9 pm.
Classic pop never goes out of style in this town, and the Vells, however modern, sound like something straight out of the '60s. Think the Turtles, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Zombies, and the Monkees, add Apples in Stereo and the Shins to the list, and you've got a pop history lesson in one sunny band.
The Vells, Sun, Vera Stage, 7 pm.
A power-pop three-piece featuring sugarcoated vocals and lyrics from Rachel Flotard and harmonies provided by former Fastbacks singer Kim Warnick. Whip-crisp drumming from Ben Hooker provides plenty of earnest balance.
Visqueen, Sat, Main Stage, 2:45 pm.
The future of the grungy Watery Graves was in question when co-singer/co-songwriter Cotton left Seattle, but the band is back and stronger than ever. They still write songs that sound like they could jump the track at any moment, and new member Mat Brooke from Carissa's Wierd adds a surprising amount of punch.
Watery Graves, Sat, Bad Juju, 5:15 pm.
Yeah, right, they broke up! Not only are Seattle's brash, cultishly coveted hardcore punks touring the U.S., they're also heading over to Europe--making their fabled farewell to this great city as believable as a final goodbye show from KISS. Expect much controlled chaos to explode (from Zeke that is--you'll have to get your KISS fix later).
Zeke, Sun, Main Stage, 3:30 pm.