Capitol Hill Block Party, Day 3: Remember Face, Sashay, Charms, Ravenna Woods

Charms // all photos by Dusty Henry

After three days of drunken fun in the streets and more tank tops than you’ve ever seen in one place, Capitol Hill Block Party came through with one last hurrah. Sunday was non-stop for exceptional local music from the opening sets to the last minutes of Perfume Genius‘ set on the Vera stage. From screeching noise rock to industrial rap beats, CHBP closed out with some of the most tenacious acts in the city.

You’ll want to remember the name Remember Face. The duo, comprised of Nu Era affiliates Chimaroke Abuachi and Andrew Savoie, emerged last year with their arresting self-titled debut and have been on an upward trajectory since then. The two are complementing parts, Savoie supplying the industrial beats that sound like they could blow up the speakers and Abuachi spitting pure venom on the microphone. They play off of each other masterfully on recordings and that translates even better to their live performance. With each new song they played, they’d heighten the drama. Savoie would step away from his laptop to rap along Abuachi, hyping up the crowd dancing around the stage. Abuachi never took off his shades but did take off his shirt after sweating his way through half the set. Remember Face played a slew of new material during their Barboza performance, including an especially killer track called “Mr. Freeze.” It’s too early to make a call, but these new tracks have potential to one-up their debut, which is definitely saying something.

With chrome, light-up sneakers, queercore act Sashay took over Cha Cha for a half hour of some of the most brutal punk in town. They didn’t just sashay either. Their lead vocalist, Miss Mike, would thrust into the crowd and scream the lyrics to songs like “America’s Next Top Bottom.” The fog kept billowing out throughout the set, giving the look of smoke in Sashay’s post-apocalyptic rubble. Songs would end almost quickly as they started, jumping from raging anthem to raging anthem.

There was a little bit of deja vu with seeing Charms at Cha Cha — the noise rock outfit had just played the same venue last year at the festival. But if I could live in a Groundhog Day scenario where I got to see Charms blare through a frenzied set and I’d totally seize the opportunity. Lit up with colorful strobes, the trio performed material from their recent debut LP Human Error as well as what sounded like a few new tracks that were equally explosive. E.J. Tolentino’s glassy, stinging guitars against Josh McCormick’s rumbling synth-bass with Ray McCoy’s pounding drums is a trifecta of anxiety inducing punk. CHBP could book these guys in the same place every year and I don’t think it’d lose its luster. Charms are just that good.

Ravenna Woods have done a lot of growing and evolving since their acoustic heavy 2010 debut Demons and Lakes. Last year’s Alleyways and Animals completed their metamorphosis into an electronic art-rock act and their set at Block Party cemented that they’re really, really good at it. Though their music has gotten decidedly darker, their performances just keep getting more lively and enthusiastic. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Cunningham would glide across the stage, swinging his shoulders in perfect rhythm with the music as he’d rip through guitar lines. It’s amazing to think that Ravenna Woods has become such a staple in this city, seven years removed from their debut, yet they still feel as fresh and new as their emerging acts that helped make up Block Party’s under card.

The entire weekend was a revelation on the growth of Seattle artists, constantly pushing themselves in new directions. After the Block Party streets empty, these bands are still going to be here making more music. Whether it’s Ravenna Woods or Gifted Gab or something else we might have missed —if you connected with an artist this weekend, keep going to their shows outside of the fest. Buy their music and their merch. Block Party may be over, but your local music party doesn’t have to end.

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