The Capitol Hill Block Party was definitely the place to be last weekend in the northwest as thirty-some bands played to a sold-out crowd. The weather conditions were ideal for an outdoor music festival, providing a cool calm place for people to rock out. Not being from Seattle, it was interesting to see what type of people come out. I am under the impression that nearly everyone in Seattle is way cooler than me, and I love it. But everyone is very polite and nice, and they are not at the show just to be seen there, they actually enjoy the music. With that said, I was also there to enjoy the music. Three of the bands that I caught in their entirety were Big Business, Minus the Bear, and The Little Ones.
Big Business played the after-party Friday night at tiny Neumos. This band is the type of band that makes damn well sure everyone knows their name by the time their set is through. As a two-piece (primarily), the have tremendous sound and versatility. Coady Willis is one of the most aggressive drummers out there. He is always doing many different things at a time, even though he only has two hands to do so. His whole body gets behind his drums - it's difficult to look away from him. Jared Warren makes the bass sound like the most melodic instrument out there, and his voice commands the attention of those in attendance. They played most of Head for the Shallow but also included a few new songs, which happened to bring with them another member, David Scott Stone. Big Business will be on tour and IN the Melvins this fall and they have also begun working on the follow up to Head for the Shallow.
On the gorgeous Saturday afternoon, I caught Minus the Bear on the main stage of the block party. Having never seen them before, I was surprised how good they were live. They happen to sound EXACTLY how they do on record, which is rare for a live performance. They are polished musicians and good showmen and they got the crowd dancing in the late afternoon. They played "Menos El Oso" chiefly but also included a few songs from previous releases. They start an extensive tour in October, so watch out for them in a city near you.
The final band of the block party was The Little Ones. They had the privilege to play the after-party Saturday night, following the Murder City Devils. They began their set to only a few very fortunate people that had the luck of getting in early. What a fantastic band The Little Ones are! Their music is upbeat and larger than life, and their demeanor onstage is the same thing. They were having a blast onstage, constantly dancing and smiling and having a genuinely great time. There energy came across to the audience as it filled up rather quickly. People up front were dancing, although the band's attempts at getting break dancers up front did not work out as they hoped. The keyboardist/tambourine player was the most energetic and engaging of the five, but the four others were also the complete opposite of boring. They played much of their recently released Sing Songs EP, including "Heavy Hearts Brigade." The guitars in that song are genius, and they seemed to lasso everyone in agreement that this band has great things to come. They will be playing weekly shows at Spaceland in Silver Lake, CA, as well as other dates in CA during the month of August