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Capitol Hill Block Party

  Maktub on stage
 

Nestled in the shaded corner of 11th and Pine in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, Maktub (pictured right) takes the stage. Like the parasol of clouds losing its battle with the persistent sun, throngs of local hipsters begin to let their guard down as Seattle's best funk band slowly coalesce with a typically jaded Seattle crowd. Arms become unfolded, smiles spread, and hips begin to shake. Shimmering sun and knock-down grooves pour down simultaneously, setting the tone for what turned out to be the best Capitol Hill Block Party to date.

Carissa's WierdSponsored by The Pacific Northwest Branch of the Recording Academy, local alternative paper, The Stranger, and Seattle's KEXP 90.3 FM, this year's Capitol Hill Block Party combined great music: Mudhoney, Quasi, Pedro The Lion, Maktub, Botch, The Gossip, and Carissa's Weird (pictured left); social and political awareness: Home Alive and JAMPAC; music education: Grammy In The Streets; and of course, lots and lots of beer.

Mackie Designs provided the sound system for this event. Mackie needed to put together a system that would provide crystal-like clarity and chest thumping power to cover a whole city block. Fussion was the obvious choice. Front of House speakers included two Fussion 3000s, two Fussion 1800Ss and 1800SAs, and two SR1530s. That's 10,000 watts of power, and nary an external power amp in site! A SR40•8 was used as the FOH mixer. Stage monitors included various SRM450s and ART500As and was mixed with a SR24•4-VLZ PRO. The almost ten hours of music was documented on a HDR24/96 hard disk recorder.

Jeff Taylor...MACKOID!A host of Mackoids volunteered their time to make sure the show went on without a hitch. The mix was unbelievable thanks to FOH sound engineer Jeff Taylor (pictured right). John Boudreau, Greg Young and Scott Bennett made sure every band's monitor mix was perfect, Jane Novak was the monster coordinator—making sure everything ran smoothly, and Kevin Johnson made sure that each band was set up and tore down with the utmost efficiency.

The PNW Branch of the Recording Academy kicked things off Friday afternoon with three Grammy professional education panels featuring top names in the business like Susan Silver, Keith Olsen, Carrie Akre, and Sue Ennis. Panel topics included “Artist Management,” “Touring,” and “Songwriting.” A Recording Academy Industry Reception followed, with all sorts of industry pros mingling and “talking shop”.

And of course, there was the music. Saturday's lineup provided plenty of memorable moments. The delicate melodies of Carissa's Weird followed by Reggie Watts' “Stevie Wonder from Venus” voice pushing and pulling Maktub's airtight grooves in unexpected directions. Pedro The Lion delivering a nearly perfect set of powerful and emotional songs, and Botch scaring the pants off the crowd with their intense, explosive, and loud set. Did I forget to mention loud? A true highlight was watching Quasi's Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes maneuver effortlessly through one pop gem after another. The show wrapped up with Seattle legends Mudhoney reminding us why the world starting paying attention to the Seattle music scene in the first place over ten years ago.

As the sun set over Elliott Bay, the crowd dispersed, many to their favorite Capitol Hill restaurants and watering holes. For those who didn't get enough music, The Bad Ju Ju Lounge kept the party going with more Seattle favorites including The Catheters, Aveo, and eXBeSTFRIends. Meanwhile, Mackoid Scott Bennett, manning a SR32•4-VLZ PRO, made sure the sound from the SR1530s and SRS1500s was clear and pumping, keeping spirits high and bodies grooving the all the way up until closing time.

 

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