review by Jason Kinnard
After this exhausting weekend of music I’m not so sure. I don’t think you could even cram much more music into a two day period. Friday and Saturday were both amazing days at the Capitol Hill Block Party (see our full reviews) and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Hill as packed as it was this weekend. Moving around (especially on Friday) was an exercise in futility as the Main Stage area was completely bottlenecked. Relief, however, was not far away on some of the smaller stages like King Cobra and Neumo’s. Loved the addition of a couple more stages this year although I heard bands complain of the noise bleeding over.
On Friday, some of the highlights on the Main Stage were Common Market, Vampire Weekend, and, surprisingly, Girl Talk — I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many poorly dancing people together on stage at one time. Thee Emergency and The Dodos both had great performances on the smaller stage at Neumo’s. Approaching near exhaustion after the insanity of Vampire Weekend, I headed home to prepare for another full day of Music on Saturday.
Saturday was much better in terms of crowds and weather, and there were again some memorable performances. One of the highlights was being able to see the Cave Singers again (last time was at the KEXP BBQ) and the Fleet Foxes for the 2nd time this month! They were of course amazing and I found it remarkable they were able to get the crowd to stay that quiet during their set. Unfortunately, they were also the last band I was able to see that day as I was headed straight to Key Arena for exclusive access at the sold out Nine Inch Nails show at Key Arena.
Just an hour earlier I had watched the Fleet Foxes unload all their own equipment out of a Van and now I was about to see a band that just sold out Key Arena and was about to embark on a year long tour of North and South America. With six trucks carrying their elaborate stage equipment and 60 support people, the difference was staggering. Nine Inch Nails would rival most military operations — the machine they feed is unbeleievable. The music itself was a great mix of old and new and their new stage set-up really made the music come to life. It was hands down the most eleborate stage set-up I’ve ever seen. Bright LED screens covered almost everything and created an unbelievable backdrop to their music and the sound was huge. This is a big time rock band.
Nine Inch Nails “Lights in the Sky” tour visuals, Seattle 9/26
After the show I had a rare glimpse inside and a chance to talk to some members of the band backstage about the tour. After their 2+ Hour long set, the band looked exhausted. They talked about the “theater” of the show and the months of practice it took them to get to this point. In a couple hours they had to load everything back up and drive to Canada overnight to clear Visa’s. As I reflected on the long journey ahead of them and watched them say goodbye to family and friends all I could think about was one thing: So you really want to be a rockstar?