What's a Block Star? Who's a Block Star is a better question. Eight local bands have been plucked from The Stranger's Bands Page (www.thestranger.com/bands) to compete for a slot on the Capitol Hill Block Party's mainstage, and they're all playing the Vera Project on Friday, June 15. (Don't worry your ADD-addled head off—the bands are playing short sets, just two songs apiece.)
Here's the who's who:
Grynch: A great MC/DJ hiphop duo influenced by Brother Ali, Common, and Jay-Z.
The Lonely Forest: Dynamic, turbulent, and melodic compositions of piano, bass, and keyboard.
Neezie Pleaze: Another MC/DJ combo claiming everyone from Nirvana and the Strokes to NWA and the Pharcyde as influences.
Optimus Rhyme: Dude. They do a rad "nerdcore hiphop" cover of the Clash's "Train in Vain."
PWRFL Power: The quirky solo project of Kazutaka Nomura that sounds nothing like the "dub, psychedelic, and trash" genres he claims.
Skullbot: Killer classic hard rock done right by kids who can barely drive legally.
Speaker Speaker: Sunny power pop that's louder, faster, and frankly better than most power pop.
The Sutures: They used to be called the Neons and you can tell they listen to a lot of Pixies and Velvet Underground records—which isn't a bad thing.
Because a sentence rarely sums up any band accurately (unless you say "Coheed and Cambria are not good."), you should log on to www.thestranger.com/bands and check out all the songs the bands have posted.
You should also know I had nothing to do with the bands who got picked, and I have nothing to do with who wins, so if you want to boost your chances, don't send the candy and flowers to me (you know, unless you wanna... I like Reese's Pieces and peonies). The judges for the evening include Stranger music editor Jonathan Zwickel, Vera's programming director Melissa Quayle, the Recording Academy NW chapter's executive director Ben London, 107.7 The End's Harms, the Old Fire House's programming director (and best drummer in Seattle) Nat Damm, KUBE's Sunday Night Sound Session cohost DJ Hyphen, KEXP host Cheryl Waters, and Mackie and TAPCO VP John Boudreau. That's a long list of big names, my friend.
The show is free, it starts at 7:30 p.m., and you all need to do is show up and cheer on your favorite. Why? Because it's not only a slot on the mainstage that's up for grabs—the winning band will also walk away with a rehearsal PA from TAPCO, a Verizon "Chocolate" phone, and an interview and live performance on both KEXP's Audioasis and 107.7 The End. And, perhaps the strangest of all, the winners will also have a song featured in a national Esurance TV commercial. (Esurance is a sponsor of the Block Party this year, which is where it comes in).
Good luck to all the bands, and everyone reading this better be at the show screaming their faces off for their favorite.