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Thursday
Jul252019

Capitol Hill Block Party 2019

It’s official, Capitol Hill Block Party 2019 is one for the books. The music festival boasted an impressive lineup this year (Lizzo!) and was chock full of incredible moments and performances. Here’s what went down:

 

Friday:

Showing up to the festival in the afternoon, one couldn’t help but be drawn to JPEGMAFIA’s Main Stage riot. The indie New York rapper provided the perfect balance between carefully placed rhymes and mosh-inducing screams, all over lo-fi beats served from his iphone plugged into the aux cord.

Up next came indie-rock vocalist Mitski, who’s choreographed performance included acrobatic moves and table flipping, all in sync with her undeniably danceable songs. Throughout the performance, Mitski’s movements and facial expressions accentuated the stories of her breakup-themed songs, creating a work of art that felt like one-woman musical theater.

Saturday:

New York multi-instrumentalist Vagabon was my favorite act from Saturday afternoon. Vagabon’s haunting vocals paired perfectly with her emotional guitar riffs, as her backup band provided the base rhythm for the crowd to sway to.

When Still Woozy took the stage on Saturday evening, the air was electrifying. The groovy Oakland pop artist and his band brought a vibrant energy to the stage. From bass-breakdown dance offs to spontaneous stage dives, Still Woozy had the crowd on their toes for the duration of his set. When he performed his hit song “Goodie Bag,” it was impossible to not sing along.

Saturday night was an absolute throwdown, to say the least. The undeniable festival headliner Lizzo managed to turn East Pike Street into a giant game of sardines. Lizzo danced, twerked, and fluted, all while seemingly half of Seattle belted her chart topping hits along with her.

For those not fortunate enough to score a good view of Lizzo dominating the Main Stage, another of my favorite performances took place on the Vera Stage: A Tribe Called Red, a pair of Indiginous Canadian DJ’s who combine dubstep and First Nations music. “We are not a conquered people,” blasted through the speakers before dropping into one of the greatest mixes of tribal cries and bass wobbles you’ll ever hear.

Sunday

After an afternoon schedule shift, Seattle singer/writer Umi made it on to the Main Stage, and she gave us every reason to believe that’s where she belongs. Umi had complete control of the crowd while her sweet vocals floated over her backup band’s groovy breakdowns. In between songs, she repeatedly preached love and positivity. Umi’s energy and catchy songs made her impossible to walk away from. There’s no reason why we can’t believe she’ll be the next SZA.

Dressed in all black, Vancouver post-punk band ACTORS brought goth to the summer on the Vera Stage. Their sound is rhythmic, dark, yet pleasantly uplifting. The group looked good, sounded good, and all around rocked the stage. ACTORS became an instant favorite among the crowd.

 

A last minute Main Stage booking of Portland indie rock heroes STRFKR proved to be a great success. As soon as the first song began, out came a crew of flamboyant backup dancers, including an astronaut, a man in a dinosaur suit, and Gandalf himself. Playing hit after hit, STRFKR felt like kings of a dance party. STRFKR’s evening set perfectly captured the easy going, weird, and party vibe of Capitol Hill Block Party, especially when Gandalf embarked seemingly on one of the furthest crowd surfs of all time.

While DJ RL Grime thumped away at the Main Stage, California indie-pop prince Cuco treated the crowd at the Vera Stage to a delightful and youthful performance. Cuco served sweet guitar licks, reverb-heavy keys, and a mix of mellow English and Spanish vocals. Cuco’s performance was a soothing juxtaposition to the chaos that occurred the night before, and his songs proved to be the perfect lullabies to end the 3 day music festival.

 

Words and Photos by Peter Sullivan

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