Capitol Hill Block Party 2011: Pre-Festival Picks

Capitol Hill’s modest little block party has now turned into a multi-stage, all-weekend extravaganza that draws in a wide selection of local and international acts. With all of these acts to potentially enjoy, who should you actually withstand the push and pull of the crowd to see? Let us tell you.

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

grave babies

Dark imagery, light visuals, light moods, dark noise… Grave Babies, Hardly Art’s latest signees, are dingy and marvelous at the same time, easily embodying and employing contradictions in sound, image, and context.
4:00PM, VERA


Fun, unpretentious indie rock for those who really, really don’t care about looking “cool”.
5:00PM, VERA

craft spells

These perfectly adorable and perfectly loose dance jams paint the backdrop for a Seattle summer evening.
7:00PM, VERA

fucked up

Canada’s best import isn’t whiskey; it’s the wildly intelligent hardcore stylings of Fucked Up. It’s like listening to a Mensa version of Black Flag.

the head and the heart

People rave about them. People rave against them. Regardless of how you feel, The Head and the Heart put on a show that makes your heart melt just a little bit.
9:15PM, MAIN

absolute monarchs

This four-piece is up there in terms of best local bands to see live. Most of CHBP will probably be a hot, sweaty mess, but this show will probably be a sweatier mess than others.


These UK musicians combine the noisy and the rosy into one concise and fun package.

ghostland observatory

A Ghostland show is best seen to be appreciated, so watch the video below for the full effect. Their brand of spazzy electro is bound to make even stoic of Seattlites move.

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011


Sports make dance music, but there’s a reason they’re blowing up the Seattle scene. They’re filling the void locally better than anyone else, and have a series of singles that make them stand out on a national level, as well.
To Catch a Thief by SPORTS

handsome furs

Saturday at CHBP seems quite the day for electronic dance rock, and Canadian duo Handsome Furs show off their years of veteran skill in the arena.
6:00PM, MAIN

ravenna woods

Three clever bearded lads from Seattle who play some foot-stomping acoustic jams. The guitarwork alone puts this band a notch above the competition.
6:30PM, VERA


People sure can’t get enough of dark dance rock right now, and who better to bring that to a CHBP crowd than Toronto band Austra?


With the amount of noise they make, you wouldn’t expect Akimbo to be just a trio. But the Seattle band brings monster rock riffs to the forefront for the entirety of the set.


In the hands of Will Wiesenfeld, glitched out beat-and-synth soundscapes take on endlessly fascinating forms.
10:45PM, VERA

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

my goodness

This duo takes the Black Keys approach of guitar/vocals and drums. But the origins of Seattle take hold as the band is less blues-oriented and more steeped in punk.
2:30PM, MAIN


Oakland psych rockers Lumerians are a must-see, must-see, must-see, must-see. Must-see. The video below shows more than you should ever need to know to be convinced of this fact.


Rock’s most complicated band is like trying to watch solve calculus theorems. The trio of Battles are some of the finest musicians you’ll ever see, even if you don’t understand the math-rock being played.
5:00PM, MAIN

grand hallway

With eight members and a diverse slew of lush instrumentation, Grand Hallway are a brilliant live band to see, and vocalist Tomo Nakayama may have one of Seattle’s most fascinating voices.

explosions in the sky

The Austin quartet is more synonymous with the widely thrown around genre “post-rock” than anyone else. But if the shoe fits the bill, than Explosions in the Sky are the masters of the grandiose, instrumental crescendos.

pink mountaintops

Those who love Black Mountain will find relaxing comfort in the shoegaze-psych of sister band Pink Mountaintops.

mad rad

Seattle’s glam rappers aren’t for everyone. In fact, they aren’t for a lot of people. But the people they are for love the party that accompanies the live act.
11:30PM, NEUMO’S

Written by
Vivian Hua 華婷婷

Vivian Hua 華婷婷 is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer. As the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle and Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication, REDEFINE, much of her work unifies her metaphysical interests with her belief that art can positively transform the self and society. She regularly shares human-centered stories through her storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE! In 2020, she will [hopefully] begin production on a comedic Asian-American series entitled Reckless Spirits.

Ask Vivian about MARSHMALLOWS, cuz she's gross... and being tips for being frugal while nomading!

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Written by Vivian Hua 華婷婷
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