New Bands At Capitol Hill Block Party – Day 2

Capitol Hill Block Party

Seattle – After Capitol Hill Block Party kicked off with a bang on Friday, day two of the festival continued to see top-notch local, national, and international acts, enjoyed by audience members of all ages.

While some highlights of the Saturday lineup included local indie rockers Ivan & Alyosha, electro-pop artist/producer Toro Y Moi, and Atlanta punk-rock outfit The Coathangers, Best New Bands picked four of the day’s best acts.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra live by Caitlin Peterkin

Fronted by New Zealand multi-instrumentalist Ruban Nielson, the Portland-based Unknown Mortal Orchestra played the main stage early Saturday afternoon to a thoroughly entertained crowd. Along with drummer Riley Geare, keyboardist Quincy McCrary, and bassist Jake Portrait, Nielson delivered an impressive set filled with multi-dimensional psych-pop/rock melodies laced with funk grooves and jazz rhythms, as heard on their much-heralded new album Multi-Love.

Opening with the second track off the record, “Like Acid Rain,” UMO, as Corey Bell also noted at Bonnaroo, “effectively set the highly electric tone for the rest of the set.” The group showcased strong harmonies on “From the Sun,” off their 2013 record II, before transitioning into “How Can You Luv Me,” with fuzzed-out vocals and distorted guitar complemented by ferocious drums and groovy bass. On “The World Is Crowded,” they ventured into more blues-funk territory, with sensual harmonies and jazzy synth, while on “Multi-Love” they got the crowd moving. Judging by the number of bodies grooving to the music, UMO was a crowd favorite of Saturday afternoon.

Smokey Brights

Smokey Brights live by Caitlin Peterkin

Seattle’s own Smokey Brights played the Vera Stage Presented by Alaskan Airlines Visa Signature Card on Saturday afternoon, delivering their version of pop-rock. Ryan Devlin (vocals, guitar), Kim West (vocals, keys), James Weston Vermillion (bass, vocals), Michael Kalnoky (lead guitar, vocals), and Nicholas Krivchenia (drums) performed tracks off their 2014 debut Taste for Blood – tracks like “Catacomb” and “Baby Marmalade,” which are moody and billowing, filled with surfy guitar, nostalgic synth, captivating harmonies, and powerful rhythm and bass, highlighting the band’s influences of 70’s rock, New Wave, shoegaze, and psychedelia.

Wye Oak


Baltimore’s Wye Oak (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) took the main stage as the clouds rolled in and released the rain that had been threatening since the morning. “It’s really cool you’re sticking around,” Wasner lauded her audience. “I would’ve been like, ‘Peace out, it’s raining!’” Reviewing Wye Oak’s LP Shriek last year, Best New Band’s Sarah Hess said the album “stunningly marries Wasner’s ambient calls and intriguing bass with Stack’s experimental beats and futuristic melodies, creating a magical and astonishing soundscape.” The same holds true for their live show: The multi-instrumentalist frontwoman delivered strong, reverb-drenched guitar and bass as she jammed with Stack on percussion and keyboard on nearly every song, much to the delight of the crowd. Her vocals rang out, like on the title track and “Glory” off Shriek, while the duo simply shredded on tracks from the 2011 album Civilian including “Holy Holy,” followed by the title track.

The Kills

The Kills live by Caitlin Peterkin

The skies had already cleared by the time Saturday’s headliner took the main stage. Pike Street was packed with Block Partiers, ready to rock out to The Kills. Cheers erupted as Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince took the stage, and the duo launched into the slow-march of “U.R.A. Fever,” opening their 90-minute set with fervor. Mosshart, ever the show-woman, prowled the stage, hypnotically gyrating and wildly tossing her hair back and forth, while Hince more reservedly shuffled about his microphone, becoming more theatrical on guitar solos. Backed by militant drummers, The Kills delivered powerful, raw punk-blues, willing their audience to pound their fists and shake their bodies with abandon. As the metallic guitar intro to “Future Starts Slow” began, the crowd hollered and wailed, singing along, “You can blow what’s left of my right mind.” The duo performed many songs off their last album, 2011’s Blood Pressures, like “Heart Is a Beating Drum” and “DNA,” alongside earlier tracks like “Black Balloon” and the mesmerizing, droning blues number “Kissy Kissy.” Since slowing things down the past few years, Mosshart was excited to announce they’ve been working on new songs. One they played, with the chorus, “Oh my shaking heart/ you got me from the start,” hinted at a slightly more electronic, dancey sound, while still maintaining their punk-blues flair. The Kills kept their momentum well until midnight, as the lights fell on the second night of Capitol Hill Block Party.

Check back for tomorrow’s recap of the final day of Capitol Hill Block Party!

Top photo uncredited – All others by Caitlin Peterkin

Caitlin Peterkin

Caitlin Peterkin

Caitlin Peterkin is a Seattle transplant fresh from the Midwest. She owes her passion for music to her parents, who filled the house with artists from The Beatles to The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel to Carly Simon, and Jackson Browne to Michael Jackson. One of her favorite memories includes being presented with her mom’s original vinyl copy of Sgt. Pepper when she got her first record player.

With degrees in journalism and music, Caitlin’s written for Paste Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and She loves cheese, laughing at GIFs of corgis, road trip sing-alongs, and connecting with people over good beer and good music.
Caitlin Peterkin

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