It may not be necessary to remind you just how hot it was for last weekend's otherwise awesome Capitol Hill Block Party, but I'll say it anyway. The mercury shot so high, people who claimed to have beer for breakfast were hugging Porta-Potties by dinner. The sun was so strong DJ Cherry Canoe's records melted on the turntables while they were playing. (For the record, she lost Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life," as well as James Gang's "Funk #49"—which the Supersuckers later covered in their set. This is the same unfortunate DJ who, at last year's Sasquatch!, watched another slab of her precious vinyl fly off the turntables due to strong winds. Damn nature.) Another way you could describe the oppressive temperatures: "hotter than 666 hells," which is how one of my favorite Block Party headliners, 3 Inches of Blood, chose to describe the scenario in the gravest (and growlingest) of terms. It was only appropriate, as the Vancouver act was the sole metal band on the main stage, as well as the only group to elicit both a surly mosh pit and multiple sightings of the "rock claw" from their fans. Two singers, six members, and a penchant for Iron Maiden falsettos—they were quite the furious force that afternoon. Of course, Bre Loughlin, the dynamic front woman of lush electronic-rock act Kuma, had the right idea for beating the heat—dressing in fishnets and a small bodice for her set and spending part of Sunday in the End's dunk tank (where I heard Jason Finn, drummer for the Presidents, was another popular target). There was some shade to be had, however, in parts of the Decibel Festival tent, where my colleague Dave Segal reports, "Lusine's [Saturday] headlining slot: Amazing set of seamlessly segued tech-house, electro, and IDM. Had the biggest crowd of the day (on this stage) dancing up a storm." While on Sunday, "Kris Moon did a totally hot and nasty DJ set full of ghetto tech and Dirty South crunk—in front of his mother and sisters! And they loved it! What a family."
And while some bands were made for the atmospherically moodier (i.e., pastier) confines of a club, main-stage opening acts like Razrez, Post Stardom Depression, and Band of Horses all kicked off their afternoon slots right. Of that crew, Band of Horses were a new act for me, containing former members of Carissa's Wierd. The music was beautifully melodic indie rock with vocals reminiscent of Flaming Lips or Built to Spill—lilting, breaking emotions expressed in every line.
Speaking of newer acts, Joram Young (ex–Cobra High) recently passed along a demo for his latest band, the Bats of Belfry. The group includes another ex–Cobra High member, Justin Schwartz on drums, Jan Norberg (Gold Rush) on vocals/guitar/ bass, and guitarist Ryan Kraft and bassist Jason McAllister (the latter two played with the Vells and the Blessed Light). The Bats' three-song demo shows a promising collective beginning for these respected local musicians. Taking from early psych rock and easy-listening love songs, and adding heavenly harmonies, they flirt with bygone eras while creating something that would meld well with, say, the Holy Ghost Revivals of the local scene. Check out the Bats of Belfry August 25 at the War Room.
Book of Black Earth release their unholy split CD with Fall of Bastards this week with a show Friday, August 5, at Chop Suey (the bill also includes Lesbian, Closed Casket, the Helm, and Cat Bees). The disc, out on Evil Morgue Entertainment, spreads a black-metal plague across five epic songs with plenty of blastbeat drumming, stormy keyboards, and ghoulish vocals. Melodies ooze like black oil slicks around simmer-to-boil instrumentals and the vocals pronounce the build to ghastly aggression. Both bands work to create arcs for that tension, though, taking short spells in more atmospheric territory before returning to the shred. (In other Book of Black Earth–related news, guitarist Rebekah Dunbar recently amicably parted ways with her other band, the Fitness).
King5.com reported the tragic news that Mick King from the local radical punk band Feederz was recently beaten into critical condition. On Wednesday, July 16, King was crossing the intersection of Broadway and Denny Way with friends around 2:00 a.m. when a heated exchange with a driver allegedly ended with the musician being beaten nearly to death. Police have yet to make any arrests, but they are asking anyone with a tip (witnesses say the driver was male, his passenger female, and the car was silver) to please call 1-800-CRIME-13. King is the father of a 12-year-old boy and his family is asking that the perpetrator be brought to justice.