Spin the Black Circle

Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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Archive for July, 2010

From Crosscut: Capitol Hill Block Party preview

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

I wrote the below preview of the Capitol Hill Block Party for Crosscut. Click the jump to read the entire article.

The Capitol Hill Block Party is possibly one of the best-kept secrets in the world of summer music festivals. But that may change this weekend, when the festival takes over the main Pike/Pine hub of an area some call “Party Mountain” due to its sometime raucous nightlife scene.

On the surface the CHBP is your typical Seattle summer music festival with corporate sponsors, lots of local buzz and a lineup that includes some heavy-hitting headliners peppered with loads of amazing local talent. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find the things that make Block Party such a great event, which is why it might not be our little secret anymore.

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PHOTOS: Mayhem Festival feat. Rob Zombie, Korn & more @WRA 07.12.10

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

All photos by Alex Crick.


Zombie and pyro and Korn, oh my!: Mayhem Festival @ WRA 07.12.10

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

 

Heavy metal is a brutal beast of a musical genre. There’s loyal and dedicated fans, loud guitars, screamy and often angry vocalists and pyro, lots and lots of pyro. All of those things and more were on display when the Rockstar Mayhem Festival hit White River Amphitheater in Auburn last week.

The festival featured some of the bigger metal bands pounding out music today  (Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Korn, Rob Zombie along with plenty of relative fresh faces metal fans that made favorable impressions on metal fans (3 Inches of Blood, Chimera, Shadows Fall, Atreyu) which made Mayhem Fest an adequate heir to Ozzfest, which once was the Mecca of traveling metal tours. 

The nine-hour metal marathon included three stages and plenty of merch booths and beer gardens, which are the typical trappings of a summer music festival, filling WRA with a hard rock vibe for the entire day. Earlier in the afternoon the two side stages featured bands that performed back-to-back sets while motocross racers performed aerial stunts in the background. The stages took a bit out of Warped Tour’s playbook by having one band start immediately after another band finished on the opposite stage, leaving no gap between bands. The early highlight was easily semi-locals 3 Inches of Blood, who closed down the second stage area. The band’s updated Iron Maiden sound killed in a crowd of borderline hometown fans (the group is based out of Vancouver, B.C.) (more…)


Spin the Black Circle’s Capitol Hill Block Party recommendations

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

The Capitol Hill Block Party is a few days away and if you’re anything like me you’ve been closely analyzing the lineup trying to figure out how to cram in as much music as possible into this three-day smorgasbord of entertainment.

CHBP 10 features a lineup of some heavy-hitting headliners peppered with loads of amazing local talent. While acts like Atmosphere, Dead Weather and MGMT are the attraction for casual music fans, locals like Unnatural Helpers, Head Like A Kite, Grand Hallway and Macklemore will be there to satisfy the musical appetite for those looking for a bit more than what the mainstream has to offer. This means that like every Block Party, or every music festival for that matter, there are plenty of conflicts.

How do you choose between Shabazz Palaces and Unnatural Helpers? Or the Redwood Plan and the Head and the Heart? Luckily, no matter what decision you make you’re going to end up winning since this is one of the strongest CHBP 10 lineups to date. If you haven’t bought your tickets I encourage you to do so now because three-day passes are all gone and word on the street is that Friday is sold out.

If you can’t make it to the festival this weekend you can expect to find lots of words about what goes down on Party Mountain as well as lots and lots of great photos from the festival here next week. Here’s where you’ll likely find me during Block Party: (more…)


Tonight: Sing a song, win Bumbershoot tickets at Ozzie’s

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

I bet if you were to take all of the acts who have performed at Bumbershoot throughout the festival’s 39-year history, ranging from REM to the Black Eyed Peas, you’d get yourself quite a cool karaoke playlist.

If you wonder what that playlist might look like you should head on over to Ozzie’s in Queen Anne tonight for Bumberaoke. It’s a Bumbershoot-themed karaoke contest that begins at 9:00 and the person who delivers the best karaoke rendition of a song by an artist who has performed at Bumbershoot will walk away with tickets to this year’s Bumbershoot Arts & Music Festival. Contestants will be judged on five categories including: song choice, vocal quality, showmanship, audience reaction and the mysterious ‘X’ factor.

Full disclosure, I will be one of the judges for the contest along with KEXP’s DJ El Toro and Imaginary Victoria from Three Imaginary Girls. We’ll be judging contestants starting at 9:00 and going until around 12:20 a.m. The selection of karaoke songs for the night will all be songs by former or current Bumbershoot artists.

So warm up your pipes and come on over to Queen Anne tonight for a shot at free Bumbershoot tickets.


KEXP announces lineup for free Concerts at the Mural series

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Local radio powerhouse KEXP announced the lineup for its Concerts at the Mural series this morning. The shows are free weekly concerts that happen at the Mural Amphitheater throughout August. The shows make me nostalgic for the days when Pearl Jam, Grunttruck, the Posies and other local legends all rocked the Mural for free as party of KISW’s Pain in the Grass series back in the 90s.

Performers for this year’s series include: Victor Shade, Grand Hallway, the Head and the Heart, Mt St Helens Vietnam Band and more. The full lineup is listed below along with a very suspicious “Special Guests TBA” on Aug. 13. 

It should be noted that that the annual KEXP BBQ is missing a solid headliner. Last year the event featured Dinosaur Jr and Japandroids. I think it’s safe to speculate a band bigger than The Lonely Forest will rock the Mural on Aug. 14, or maybe that’s what the Special Guest situation on Aug. 13 is all about?
  

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Music for your Monday: Stream Born Anchors’ newest album

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Born Anchors have a new record they’re planning to release this summer called Colorize the Grey. The record is one of my favorite local releases of the year so far and it shows amazing growth for a young band. It’s a massive shift from the group’s aggressive and hard rock sound heard on last year’s Sprezzatura to a more mature, melodic sound. I really like this album and I’m pretty sure you’ll dig it too. You can stream the album below and hear the band’s growth for yourself and you can see Born Anchor’s next Seattle show at the Cha Cha on July 24 as part of the Cha Cha’s CHBP offerings.

Colorize the Grey by Born Anchors


Bumbershoot 2010 replaces Exhibition Hall with outdoor stage, beer garden

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Bumbershoot stage area

There’s been a lot of talk recently about what to do with the empty space on the Seattle Center grounds where the amusement rides and parlor games that made up the Fun Forest once lived. Proposals range from building a Dale Chihuly glass museum to making it a new space for KEXP.

Since a decision on what will permanently be done with the area that is now being called “Center Square” won’t be happening for a while, the folks at One Reel found a way to put the space to use during Bumbershoot. The mostly empty space in front of EMP – which currently houses a basketball court and a hay maze for kids (pictured to the left) – will be used for an outdoor stage and a beer garden. This new stage won’t be in addition to the festival’s multiple stages, instead it will (thankfully) replace the Exhibition Hall stage.

The Exhibition Hall is a cavernous concrete cave of a spot to see a band and I welcome its demise. It ranks right up there with Showbox Sodo as one of the worst places to see a show. Replacing it with an outdoor stage that will house more people is a smart change to Bumbershoot that will not only make the festival experience better but also provide broader exposure to the artists who play that stage.

Speaking of acts playing the new stage, I’ve been told the programming for the new outdoor stage will be the same as the programming in Ex Hall, which means you’re going to see a lot of Warped Tour types play there as well as the almighty Anvil. According to a One Reel representative, there will also be “spectacle programming” between bands. Pair that with a beer garden and a hopefully sunny and weekend and you’ve got a winning addition to one of summer’s best festivals.


Capitol Hill Block Party unveils day-by-day schedule

Monday, July 12th, 2010

The day-by-day schedule for this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party has been posted and as usual there are conflicts aplenty.

On Friday night do you watch the group that made one of last year’s best local albums, Shabazz Palaces, or do you watch Unnatural Helpers, the group that made one of this year’s best local releases? How do you decide between the heavily buzzed locals Head and the Heart and heavily loved (by me) locals The Redwood Plan on Saturday?  While those two conflicts are definitely not cool, perhaps the most interesting clash will be the beauty of the Dutchess and the Duke up against the fury of Dead Weather on Sunday night. It’ll be interesting to find out whether you’ll be able to hear Kimberly Morrison’s whimsical campfire rock voice over Allison Mosshart’s ferocious, womanly exorcism wails. The full schedule for CHBP 2010 is below.
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From Crosscut: Rejuvenating one of Seattle’s oldest theaters

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I wrote the below profile of one of the city’s oldest music venues, the Columbia City Theater, for Crosscut last week. The theater reopened on June 25 and it is celebrating its grand reopening with two free concerts this weekend. The full story can be found after the jump.

Seattle’s newest music venue is also one of its oldest — the Columbia City Theater.

Located in Rainier Valley, the theater has roots that go back to the days of vaudeville. It originally opened in 1917 and has served as everything from a movie house in the 1950s to a home for DIY punk rock shows in the 1980s. During the heyday of jazz, its stage hosted local legends such as Jimi Hendrix (performing as a member of his high school jazz band) and Quincy Jones, as well as national titans not from around here, including Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald.

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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.