Skipped yesterday to go river floating all day, so no update yesterday morning and no report forthcoming on Sunday (glad I saw Battles last weekend),


Some Parting Block Party Thoughts: Cold Cave vs. Les Savy Fav, Truckasauras' Unsanctioned Blowout, and Skipping Sunday Entirely

Skipped yesterday to go river floating all day, so no update yesterday morning and no report forthcoming on Sunday (glad I saw Battles last weekend), but here are a few highlights/recollections from Block Party Saturday:

He Whose Ox Is Gored: My first (and perhaps only) great surprise of the weekend. I checked their afternoon Neumos set out because it turns out I can't stand Ben Funkhauser's low, affected singing voice in the otherwise pleasant indie-rock act Hausu. HWOIG didn't have that problem: The only occasional vocals were indecipherable guttural moans, and they came few and far between in the band's heavy, slow-headbanging attack. I'm a dilettante here, but this is the kind of metal-ish band that I can dig: slow and heavy, intricate riffing but also given to atmospheric touches (that 12-tiered keyboard station had to be doing something right), and fucking loud. Would do business with again.

More after the jump . . .

Les Savy Fav vs. Cold Cave: In the weeks leading up to Block Party, only one scheduling conflict truly confounded me: the opposing sets of gothic new wavers Cold Cave in Neumos and dance-punk pranksters Les Savy Fav on the mainstage at 9 p.m. Now I've seen both bands a few times: Les Savy Fav more times total, but Cold Cave more recently (as recently as Pitchfork Fest last weekend). Both bands are awesome, and both can put on a great live show: Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington is a one-man party store gone riot, all costume-disrobing and balcony-climbing, while Cold Cave does painfully loud dark disco with way over-the-top goth-industrial jackbooted dancing. I finally settled on watching the first 30 minutes of Cold Cave and then stepping outside to hopefully catch the last half of LSF's antics.

For the most part, the plan worked: I caught a few of my Cold Cave faves--"Confetti," "Youth and Lust," "Love Comes Close"--as well as a few of Les Savy Fav's best jams: "The Sweat Descends," "Sleepless in Silverlake," "Let's Get Out of Here." But I missed Harrington getting inside the apartments over Ballet to sing from the balcony (although I did see what looked a lot like Steve Manning in an eagle suit dancing onstage before Harrington decapitated him and wore the eagle head over his own naked torso). And from as close as I could get in the mainstage crowd, it just sounded kinda cruddy-- guitars washed out a bit, Harrington dropping lines to pull of tricks (as is his prerogative). Cold Cave, on the other hand, sounded loud as fuck and totally on-point inside Neumos, although the vocals sounded muddier and didn't cut through as well as they had last time I saw them. I was torn about leaving their set; it turns out that, as of Saturday night's shows, at this very moment in 2011, I'm more excited about seeing Cold Cave.

Truckasauras ("Dingus & the Buttfucks") at Vermillion: But the most fun set I saw Saturday at Block Party wasn't even on the official festival lineup, it was local electronics trio Truckasauras headlining an off-Block Party show (also featuring King Dude and Stickers) at Vermillion just outside the festival gates. They deployed their "Street Truck" incarnation for the occasion, a less gear-intensive but, I daresay, more punk-rock arrangement of Adam Swan on keys and delay, Ryan Trudell on Gameboys, Dan Bordon on VHS, and Tyler Swan on the live drum kit. No disrespect to the aforementioned messieurs, but it's Tyler on drums who really blew this thing out. Not only does Tyler, leaning hard into the kit, banging out these crazy headlong fills, make you not miss the Truck's usual stacked Linndrum/808 combo, he made me feel a lot better about missing John Stanier with Battles the next day. Dude is that good.

River Floating: I cannot recommend this enough, assuming it ever breaks 80 again this summer. Sorry, Block Party, but I'm thinking Battles probably come through Seattle more often than summertime does.

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