Hella Bus Blog
The final day of Block Party bittersweetly concluded last night with an incredible performance from Explosions In The Sky on a day that didn't quite have the musical consistency of the previous two days. The Bus was out in force and Jay Inslee took the stage to announce locals The Cave Singers and express his support for marriage equality. I'll have more on the whole weekend later in the day with more photos, videos, and words.
Battles brought a wall of sound to the Mainstage
Jay Inslee comes out for marriage equality and the Bus!
Mr. Inslee and the whole Bus family taking over main stage
Pete Quirk of The Cave Singers.
Voter engagement at the Bus booth!
Summer Fellows and Vote Bots taking a little popsicle break in the shade.
Land Of Pines open up the Vera Stage
Munaf Rayani of closers Explosions In The Sky.
No picture can truly capture the Explosions In The Sky experience, but here's the whole crew.
We've had a lot of big field days over the course of the Bus excellent four years. But Saturday at the Capitol Hill Block Party was straight up the biggest. Find most of the photos from the biggest field day in Bus history on our Facebook page (and tag yourself!). Here's a teaser:
Alex met the Handsome Furs! Ahhhh!
Big Mario, Big Meinert, and the Summer Fellows.
Check out our Facebook page for more!
My words will be short today. Saturday was excellent. The Bus was out in force, taking over Block Party. Beat Connection stole the show. More words of some form or another will be coming on Monday. Enjoy day 3!
Me and Pearl Dragon having a moment
Block Party eagle speaking its mind
Christopher Mansfield of Fences
Summer Fellows and the Mayor introducing Best Coast on the Main Stage
Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast getting the party started
Sun drenched Main Stage crowd
Beat Connection + Pearl Dragon taking over the globe
Yesterday, the Bus and the Summer Fellows were out in force at Capitol Hill Block Party canvassing not only the festival, but the entire neighborhood. The "summer god" as P Smoov would call it finally graced Seattle with a beautiful day and people were out in storm to see a lineup ranging from upstart hip hop groups Kung Foo Grip and Brothers From Another to alt rock stalwart Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore. While the day started off slow as people filtered onto Pike Street, the artists brought the heat and the people responded. Ontario native Shad performed in front of a small, but enthusiastic crowd at the Vera Stage and wowed them his diverse flow, ability to play the guitar, and overall friendliness and willingness to engage the crowd. Over on the main stage, electro -rockers Ghostland Observatory tore through their set and got the dance party started with an array of lasers, synths, and piercing vocals courtesy of singer Aaron Behrens. Overall, the day was a huge success, and it was only the first! The Bus will be out again today and Sunday celebrating the artists, the weather, and voter engagement!
P Smoov throwing down at the mainstage
Summer Fellows in action!
Vote Bot getting in on the action
Sol at the Vera Stage
Shad getting up close and personal at the Vera Stage
Young voters and MCs!
Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth
Vote Bot joining forces with Dansportation
More young voters!
Lasers! At Ghostland Observatory
And fade into the night
One hour until the gates swing wide and the teeming masses pour into the 2011 Capitol Hill Block Party. Hella Bus's recommendation for Friday? It's all about the Vera Stage.
We're talking a sumptuous dish of Seattle (and a dash of Canadian) hip-hop back to back to back to back to back, etc...
First Sol -
Then some Canadian flavor with Shad -
Brothers from Another and Kung Foo Grip -
Closed by some of the best music happening anywhere, TheeSatisfaction -
Last night, over 350 students, transit riders, and activists piled into the Burien City Hall chambers to speak their minds on the proposed cuts to King County Metro bus service. A full Bus young Washingtonians headlined by the 2011 WaBus Summer Fellows were out in force, and a few Vote Bots even showed up to support the proposed $20 car tabs fee (read all about it here). We rolled the actual Washington Bus down to Burien for the hearing along with dozens of young Metro riders desperate to keep the service that is integral to get to school and work. College and high school students, the elderly, the disabled, and every other sort of transit rider around came out to tell the stories of how the proposed cuts will personally effect them.
Sug telling the people what's up.
Media Intern Peter Johnson testifying.
Paris brings the house down.
Summer Fellow Amber Rose Jimenez with the good words.
What a powerful night! The Bus, alongside leaders of the UW student body, brought the youth voice to the proceedings and took the energy to the next level. Check us on King 5, and in this awesome Burien blog.
...is the one and only WD4D! An undisputed Seattle living legend dubbed by the Stranger "the feel good DJ of the decade." WD4D has been blowing up Seattle clubs for over 15 years now, he co-founded the legendary Zulu Radio show on KBCS, and is a noted nice guy.
Soak in some tunes ahead of time below. And prepare yourself, Candidate Survivor just got that much more dope. Almost at capacity, RSVP yourself!
Les Savy Fav are going to be insane this weekend at Capitol Hill Block Party.
I don't just know this because of the intensity and energy of their music, which is plainly evident here:
I know Les Savy Fav are going to be insane this weekend at Capitol Hill Block Party because I saw them last time they performed at Capitol Hill Block Party in 2008 - and if they are one fourth as insane on Saturday as they were back then, they will still fully qualify as being insane.
This is my experience:
There I was, a young child of but fourteen years, soaking in all the sights that the year's most awesome (and Bus-affiliated) music event had to offer. I stood on weary feet, only watching Les Savy Fav's set in order to save a spot in the crowd fore Vampire Weekend. This bizzarely-named opening act was utterly foreign to me; I did not - nay, could not - foresee the utter facerocking I was soon to receive.
Les Savy Fav started their performance, and I was immediately into it. The music had a cacophonous yet rhythmic quality to it, a strange mixture between a wall of sound and an evenly lapping tide.
As he crooned words I couldn't understand but really liked the sound of, lead singer Tim Harrington dropped down into the crowd. As he walked through the mass of people, giving out the typical high-fives and fist bumps, I noticed he was inching ever closer to me. I raised my palm to greet him, and that's when it happened.
Without halting his singing, Harrington grabbed the man immediately in front of me and wrapped him in his plaid-sleeved arms; he gave this person the most affectionate, caring bear hug I have ever witnessed in my life. There the lead singer held him for a full verse and half of a chorus, rubbing his impressive beard against the man's chin, neck, and shoulders while I watched from less then three feet away.
At no point in this minute long display of both love and aggression did Tim Harrington break eye contact with me. He just stared intently at me, keeping a completely straight face. Harrington then continued into the crowd for the rest of the song, eventually helping pass out hot dogs at a nearby vendor cart.
My reaction was a little something like this:
Les Savy Fav are apparently well-known known for these kind of on(and off)stage shenanigans, and hopefully this Saturday won't be an exception.
For my final Block Party (only one day away!) artist preview post, we have Fences, the local 4 piece band that has rocketed into the indie-rock spotlight over the last year. The group released its self titled debut in late 2010 and immediately gained recognition from magazines and blogs like SPIN, who dubbed it an "Album You May Have Missed". While I doubt many Seattle-ites missed the album (we're way more in the know than most), the acclaim and attention given to the band has made them one of the Northwest's most popular exports.
Fences is the creation of vocalist/guitarist Christopher Mansfield, a Seattle native and graduate of the Berklee College of Music. In an interview with the Stranger last year, Mansfield aptly described himself as a "drunk tortured artist" (although Mansfield is sober), which is also a pretty excellent description of the type of sounds Fences produce. While Fences debut isn't the most upbeat album in the world, it sounds surprisingly fun when performed live. It will be interesting to see how the intoxicated Block Party crowd will react. Fences play on the Mainstage at 3:30 on Saturday.
New developments in transportation are crazy, folks. Between continuing debates over the viaduct replacement, possible cuts to metro service, and the start of tolling on the 520 bridge, your commute to work might soon be getting a little bit longer. Since there’s no better way to pass the drive/bus time than good old fashioned podcasts, here’s a list of some of my favorite freely-available audio shows you can listen to in the midst of the gridlock.
KUOW Weekday Podcast
Essentially an archive of recent stories and conversations already heard on Seattle’s Public Radio station, the KUOW Weekday Podcast is a great way to catch up on recent developments in the Puget Sound political scene. The program is one of the most reliable sources of local news, laying down background information and synthesizing issues appropriately.
Check Out: “Ask King County Executive Dow Constantine”. Fresh off the presses, informative, and featuring a friend of The Bus; what more could you want in an interview?
Doug Loves Movies
Comedian Doug Benson hosts this hilarious podcast steeped in the world of film. With guest panelists that include comedians, actors, screenwriters, and directors, the podcast has two sections: for the first half, Benson and his guests just chat about movies. Next, the panelists play a movie trivia competition called the Leonard Maltin Game - where one must guess the title of a movie based on reviews from the game’s legendary namesake.
Check Out: “TJ Miller, Scot Armstrong, and Brody Stevens guest”. You really can’t go wrong with any of the episodes, but these are three of my personal favorite guests.
I just started listening to Radiolab, but I’m in awe already. The podcast/radio program based in New York City effortlessly blends the world of science, politics, and music into one hour-long newsmagazine. Each episode has an overarching theme, tied together by various mind-blowingly informative stories or interviews with qualified professionals. Radiolab makes the concept of scientific inquiry and exploration fascinating, accessible, and entertaining as heck.
Check Out: “Lost and Found”, a discovery of the neuroscience and psychology behind direction and familiarity.
Here at the Bus, we love to protest. The right to assemble and speak for or against an issue in public is one of the keys to a functioning and vibrant democracy. That's why we were concerned to see a law that was recently passed seriously restricting free speech rights in a democratic nation.
This past week, the Israeli parliament passed a law that will make it a criminal offense to boycott Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The issue of settlements in the West Bank is extremely controversial, and the legal and moral implications of the conflict extend far beyond this blog post, but this law is at odds with basic free speech rights we're accustomed to seeing in a nation considered a Democracy. Since the law passed (by a vote of 47-38), groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have spoken out against it, but the international community, and specifically the United States have been silent on the issue. It offers yet another example of how precarious the US's political relationship is with the Israel-Palestine conflict when even the flag toting "constitutionalists" stay silent on the issue.
The popsicles given out by the Bus every year at Capitol Hill Block party (which is going down TOMORROW by the by) are unique in the world of chilled fruity dollups of goodness. These are not just any popsicles. These are magic. And this magic will be provided to you, yes YOU, for a simple favor to democracy - a pledge to vote! Now why are these popsicles so magical, you wonder aloud to the crowd? Well, the Bus has created visual guides for your viewing pleasure to show just how our popsicles are created.
These glorious sicles of pop are forged in the heart of a mountain, where an explosion of flavor greets them into their new existence.
But, this is no normal mountain, it's a fearsome volcano!
Then Vote Bot takes over, transporting the popsicles to the desert in order to understand the true thirst they shall be quenching at Block Party.
And a trip under the sea to truly know hydration.
And finally, to cools those cray cray popsicles down to below freezing temps, Vote Bot makes a final stop to visit the penguins in Antarctica, heed their wisdom, and understand the true meaning of Christmas.
Cool. Tasty. And ready to go.
Want one? Yes, yes you do. Come to Capitol Hill Block Party (or Cal Anderson park outside) tomorrow and visit the bus to pick up your very own globe-trotting popsicle like these smart folks last year:
Block Party is nearly upon us, so let's not get crushed under its magnitude. We'll be dishing up some primers today on music to look out for, for example:
Battles (Playing Sunday on the Main Stage from 4:50 to 5:40) - For me, seeing Battles the first time was a little like watching an 80s sci-fi movie, or perhaps the invention of the internet. A bunch of disheveled, almost emaciated dudes tinkered around on giant walls of electronics for a while, twisting knobs, plucking strings, singing inaudible things into mics. Then, gradually, the buzzing basslines and intermittent percussion began to coalesce into something distinctly, well, musical. A couple minutes into the show, once everyone in the band had filed on stage, they took a brief glance up at each other, and launched into this:
Weird as hell, but pretty damn cool. Plus, Battles fans, are Battles fans. They go wild, and it can be in turns terrifying and awesome to be caught in the middle of it.
I'm not sure what will change now that their bizarrely charismatic front man (the guy doing the crazy vocals and who looks nothing like me) is out of the band, but my guess is still awesome. Plus, I love the fact that the drummer plays with one cymbal towering over the drum set just so he can reach up (sometimes even stand) and smash the bejeesus out of it. Simple, effective.
To set the mood ahead of time, stop by Bluebird, who is serving up a Battles themed ice cream flavor in honor of their new album appropriately titled Ice Cream (full disclosure: I haven't heard it yet).