More clouds? More rain? When have these things ever mattered to Seattle? Capitol Hill Block Party 2015 ventured onwards with nothing but smiles as time for Day 2 arose. Between Jamie xx and Built to Spill yesterday, Saturday had a high bar to clamber over. But the festivities got underway very quickly, with early main stage sets from local hip-hop legends The Physics and New Zealand via Portland psych rock band Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Young rockers Snuff Redux played their first CHBP appearance over at Neumos for plenty of smiling faces. Plus, how about that closing Com Truise set, am I right? So far, Capitol Hill Block Party 2015 is two for two.
Scheduling seemed a bit bizarre on Saturday. Primary example: who put The Physics up first on the main stage? While the band managed to muster a sizable crowd for the early slot, it's common knowledge that the Seattle hip-hop crew could have played a slot three hours later for five times the crowd with five times the smiles. The groups reps Seattle summers like no one else, and it would have been fun to see the group get a slot more representative of their hometown love. But even at 2:15 with crowds still rolling in as they began, The Physics brought a formidable set to the block party, rolling through material off their latest LP Digital Wildlife as well as new material to be dropped in upcoming months. With eight or nine members on stage at a time, it's impossible not to two step along and just enjoy the cool summer afternoon for what it is. Thig, Monk, and Justo all showed up in excellent form, with a style and sound that set the bar high for the rest of the day. Starting Capitol Block Party Day 2 with one of our favorite hip-hop acts was a recipe for success.
Ruban Nielsen went all out making a heavy-hitting record this year with Multi-Love, but that doesn't mean his live presence with Unknown Mortal Orchestra has grown any less explosive. Rocking an incredible golf shaman look, showing off plenty of fancy footwork, and ripping up and down the fret board like its nothing, Ruban is a wonder to witness on stage wherever you get to see him. Sure, the themes have grown more mature, with Multi-Love tracks dealing with love's multiplicity and the innate difficulty of loving two people at once, but on stage today, it all comes off like a party. The crowd relaxes and lets the groove get in and take precedent over all else. Pike street is one massive cloud of smoke. UMO saunter through plenty of Multi-Love and go back to older favorites like "So Good At Being In Trouble". The lo-fi tendencies of Ruban's records all fade on stage - here it's all soul and funk and weird Portland brilliance. UMO close with an extended jam version of the title track and "Can't Keep Checking My phone" and the crowd goes nuts. Nielson and company were a great pick to keep energy rolling into the increasingly sunny Saturday afternoon.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra:
Seattle newcomer indie rock act Snuff Redux kept spirits high inside Neumos as the afternoon rolled on. The band dropped their debut EP Toy Kingdom back in January to much local acclaim. Shortly after, the band embarked on their first major tour ever, an 18 date west coast and pacific inland tour showing off the EP and getting their feet underneath them. This Capitol Hill Block Party appearance marks their first ever for the festival, and the hard work they've put in on the road and at local dates in the last three months sure shows. Snuff Redux look like they've been doing this stuff with this lineup for years. Lead single "Disintegrate The Days" lit Neumos up like fireworks. I have a feeling we'll be seeing these dudes again quite soon.
Producer Seth Haley is a pretty steady dude. He dropped an EP last year called Wave 1 that picks up where his last full length of spacey, 80s-infused electronic mastery left off. More recently, his production expands further into the pop realm, helping singer Little Boots with her excellent single "Business Pleasure". Yep, Haley's vector trajectory doesn't seem to be decelerating over time at all. His Capitol Hill Block Party appearance comes about 3/4 of the way through a string of festival dates. At each, he's been doing about the same thing: setting up his seriously badass space command rig and knocking it out of the park with a collection of his own intergalactic tunes and remixes until the crowd is ready to hit the hay. I feel like seeing Com Truise at any other time of day except "late" is a capital offense, mostly because his stuff plays like a galaxy of noise in between your ears. Tonight, Haley closed out another wonderful night with exactly the set fans were hoping for, and gave CHBP one last dance party for the day before it's time to sleep and repeat.
Check back to the KEXP blog for even more Capitol Block Party 2015 coverage as the weekend rolls on!
The Seattle indie rock act is set to release their album, Denim American, on June 8
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