Over the past few years, Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party has transformed from a low key two-day happening to one of the premier (and most under appreciated) music festivals on the West Coast. Prior to 2010, the festival took place over two days on two stages and had a penchant for featuring last year’s “it” act alongside local hip hop mainstays. This made for an overall enjoyable experience, but the event lacked something. Despite its party moniker, it fell more on the gathering side of the spectrum. Sure, dance acts like Girl Talk occasionally got the crowd revved, but those events felt like anomalies. In 2010, Block Party transitioned to a three day format and added several more stages. Immediately, attendance blossomed to 20,000+. Despite the renewed interest, the organizers stayed true to their formula, bringing in national acts MGMT, Yeasayer and Real Estate, alongside revered local acts like Macklemore, Blue Scholars and Fresh Espresso. The 2011 lineup was the same story, highlighted by Ghostland Observatory, Explosions In The Sky and TV On The Radio. Both year’s were well produced, but were still far too homogeneous, both lineup and attendee-wise.
Along with the rest of the music consuming public, it looks like CHBP and local string puller David Meinert have hopped on the 2012 dance music craze, bringing in Major Lazer (sans Switch) and Fitz And The Tantrums as headliners. Fitz, as well as fellow headliner Neko Case, fit the CHBP blueprint, but the festival has never brought in a DJ act as large as Diplo’s outfit. Is it a pandering move? A little bit, but it would be difficult to ignore the raucous Major Lazer crowd at Sasquatch 2011 and, if anything, Diplo can make inebriated teenagers jump on a hot summer day. Aesop Rock (along with Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz) and the phonky keytar man himself, Dam Funk, are two of the most unique acts and are sure to provide engaging sets. The move away from traditional Seattle hip hop (previously mentioned artists, Grynch, Sol, etc.) towards a new generation (Blue Sky Black Death & Nacho Picasso, Kung Foo Grip) was much needed and will open the eyes of many a 13 year old. It’s difficult to judge a partial lineup, but it’s encouraging to see the CHBP organizers stray from their tried and true formula, albeit only slightly. The festival takes place July 20-22. Find ticket info here. Check the whole list of artists after the jump.
Neko Case, Major Lazer, Fitz And The Tantrums, Phantogram, The Lumineers, Grimes, Aesop Rock w/ Rob Sonic & DJ Big Wiz, Youth Lagoon, Diplo, Thee Oh Sees, Cloud Nothings, Twin Shadow, Dam-Funk, Doomtree, Porcelain Raft, Spoek Mathambo, White Arrows, Trust, El Ten Eleven Yuna, Light Asylum, King Tuff, Psychic Paramount, Father John Misty, Jaill, Onuinu, Black Breath, Blouse, Absolute Monarchs, Crystal Stilts, Yawn, The Coathangers, Deadkill, Sandrider, Eighteen Individual Eyes, Pollens, Nightmare Fortress Colonies, Yukon Blonde, John Maus, Blue Sky Black Death, Nacho Picasso, Kris Orlowski, Lemolo Kithkin, Hot Bodies In Motion, Kung Foo Grip, Tropical Punk, Nu Sensae, NIGHT BEATS , Freighms, Tom Eddy, Dude York, Stephanie, NUDE, FEET, Blood Red Dancers, Space Needles, Skarp, Pony Time, Murmurs, Mass Games, Slow Dance, Crypts, Crime Wave, Trash Fire, Vox Mod, Mama Utah, Silly Goose and Underground Revival