Day two of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party saw me sticking closely to the main stage. Normally, I would venture out more and try to check out some unknowns-to-me, but the main stage lineup was packed with great acts and I wanted to be as close as possible for headliner TV on the Radio.
Unsurprisingly, TV on the Radio did not disappoint, and their headlining set was just the last in a series of killer main stage performances. Local bands Fences and Telekinesis mined opposite ends of the pop spectrum early Saturday, with Christopher Mansfield’s brooding indie-rock of Fences taking the downbeat path and Telekinesis’s Michael Benjamin Lerner’s bouncy, driving tunes exploding as tightly wound capsules of exuberant power-pop.
Fences sounds like what you’d expect a Seattle band to sound like — and that’s certainly not a knock against it — but Telekinesis is defiantly incongruous, both in its place of origin and the time period in which it’s being made. That almost makes the irony-free enthusiasm from Lerner all the more appealing. Saturday’s set saw him playing songs from new album 12 Desperate Straight Lines and debut Telekinesis! — the exclamation mark was a dumb move, he admitted — with fervor, despite the pain from a recent bicycle accident.
Also on the main stage Saturday was dreamy surf rock act Best Coast, which somewhat eschewed its lo-fi trappings for garage-rock guitar abrasiveness layered under the longing vocals of Bethany Consentino. In between wishing that she was smoking the weed whose smoke was wafting toward the stage and telling the crowd how much her recent show in Hollywood sucked, Consentino captivated with her truly remarkable singing voice, which can occasionally get buried under the band’s fuzzy sound.
I’ll admit I didn’t know what to expect going into Les Savy Fav, a band I’ve heard songs from intermittently, but which hadn’t established much of an identity in my brain. So when four regular-looking dudes took the stage, I braced for some technically solid but slightly boring rock ‘n’ roll. Wrong.