Capitol Hill Block Party Sunday Favorites: The Cave Singers, Explosions in the Sky

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On the evening of what was surely the most beautiful day mankind has ever seen (and judging by the thunderstorm that went down this morning, perhaps the last nice day Seattle will ever experience), two bands rose above the rest to become my Sunday favorites.

The Cave Singers' Main Stage show proved lively enough to satisfy my hootin'-and-hollerin' needs, and get just about everybody in the Pike Street corridor clappin' their hands during their their more up-tempo finger-picking and steel string-wailing moments. Having met my only qualification (getting me to hoot and holler), the band then exceeded my expectations when lead (Cave) singer Pete Quirk broke out the harmonica and taught everyone a thing or two about rad harmonica solos.

Guitarist Derek Fudesco is a beast on the steel string, and didn't hesitate to show off. Drummer Marty Lund existed beautifully in the pocket, even joyously filling the space between songs with little snare trots to ease the crowd into the next song.

To top things off, there was a water fight at my three-o'clock, from which I caught some friendly fire. The scene was all very summertime in the middle of a much-clouded-over season.

With the sun a little further along on its arc, Explosions in the Sky grabbed the Main Stage mood and ran with it. The Texas all-instrumental outfit played to the full crowd and the wispy pink clouds, each song blending seamlessly into the next, without a single word or pause between songs. No time was left for applause or reflection, only to experience what my co-worker called her "symphony of existence." Another friend to my right expressed her frustration with the band's sluggish build-ups, together embodying the spectrum of possible audience reaction.

EITS demands patience, as even their explosions are very drawn-out, documented in slow motion from every angle with colorful shimmers of guitar, from the quiet lead-in to the rapid expansion and sinking denouement.

Their set Sunday was sprinkled with subtle programmed effects that were added live treats, and really enhanced the experience. The band not only played the sun out handily, but tucked it in for the night, and closed the Main Stage out for another year.

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