Block Party faces its future in a developing Capitol Hill



(Image: Alex Crick for CHS)


Capitol Hill Block Party wants to keep the heart of the neighborhood alive as so much of it changes.

In its 18th year, the weekend event which closes down six blocks of Pike/Pine and draws upward of 30,000 music lovers remains an annual subject of excitement from fans and the rarest of summer musical festival beasts: a three-day commercial concert venue carved out of a living, breathing city neighborhood.

With A$AP Rocky, Chromeo and Spoon headlining this year, rock fest tourists and plenty of locals will once again swarm the cordoned-off area in the heart of Pike/Pine starting July 25 for a weekend of sights, sounds and selling your soul for a parking space.

Only in America
Owner Jason Lajeunesse has not needed the Capitol Hill Block Party to make his mark on the neighborhood. CHS dubbed him one of the ‘Princes of Pike/Pine’ — along with business partner and frequent collaborator David Meinert – due to his extensive stakes in many nearby restaurants and venues, including Neumos and Lost Lake.

After spending nine years planning the Block Party’s music as co-producer, Lajeunesse took ownership of the event in 2012.

He believes Capitol Hill Block Party is a product of the neighborhood which gives it its name.

“I think it’s important to promote the neighborhood year round,” he said. “The Block Party sort of grew with the local and regional bands. As the bands got bigger, so did the Block Party.”

With four indoor venues, two outdoor stages and dozens of restaurants and bars in the area, the Block Party has the distinction of being the only event of its kind in America.

“To our knowledge Capitol Hill Block Party is unique as the only ticketed three-day street festival in the country,” Chris Swenson, program manager with the Seattle Office of Film and Music, said. “It’s a little like scooping up half of Sasquatch and plopping it in the middle of a neighborhood for a weekend. The city’s primary concern is safety and, because of the unique layout of the event, each year safety officials and agencies spend many months establishing organizer requirements and emergency plans specific to the site.” Continue reading

Living Liner Notes

A celebration and conversation with musicians featured on the new release Wheedle’s Groove Volume Two: Seattle Funk, Modern Soul, & Boogie 1972-1987, hosted by CityArts Magazine Editor Jonathan Zwickel. FREE!

The format for Living Liner Notes will include Jonathan chatting live with WGV2 music scene veterans Robbie Hill (the drummer who formed Family Affair with his own brothers, best represented by the song “Don’t Give Up”); Tony Benton (of ahead-of-its-time electro group Teleclere and currently working in contemporary hip-hop promotion); Bernadette Bascom (who recorded “I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love,” was part of pop-R&B band Epicentre, and later worked with Stevie Wonder); and Frederick Robinson lll (pioneering the gospel-funk protest song with “Love One Another,” and spent many years as a Chemical Dependency Counselor).

About the Album:

Seattle-based reissue label Light In The Attic Records released the original Wheedle’s Groove compilation a few years ago, which chronicled the King County Soul and R&B scene of the late 60′s and early 70′s. The newly released Wheedle’s Groove II (CD and vinyl LP) is more than just a sequel, it features crucial stories about our region’s vibrant, diverse, and creative African-American music scene during the late 70′s and early 80′s.

Living Liner Notes gives historical Seattle-Tacoma music fans a chance to listen to and engage with those who crafted music for nearby clubs yet had their eyes on the stars, and went on to become engaged in the music business, social work, politics, the church, and other ways to entertain, illuminate, and serve the community. This event is part of The Project Room’s How is Seattle Remembered? series.

POTW! A Poster of the Week Exhibit Opening and Reception

The Art of Music Series is curated by Aaron Huffman (Art Director at The Stranger) and Laurie Kearney (Owner, Ghost Gallery).
The first show in this series features over 25 local and regional artists that have had their gig poster designs listed in The Stranger’s Poster of the Week (POTW) column.
Each artist will exhibit their chosen poster design along with a recent work of art. Originals and edition prints for most of the work will be available for sale throughout the duration of the exhibit, through Aug 10th.

Belltown’s Black Mountain will have Hill roots, plus new Crybaby and Vita projects

Crybaby Belltown under construction (Image: Alicia Amiri via Twitter)

Crybaby Belltown under construction (Image: Alicia Amiri via Twitter)



The proprietor of a legendary Pike/Pine music studio, a music industry veteran with Neumos and Capitol Hill Block Party chops, and the leading exporter of Pike/Pine cool to the global craft coffee market are working together on a new project that combines their love for music and caffeine, stiff drinks and pizza. And it won’t be on Capitol Hill.

“Cap hill is too expensive to be feasible for our project,” Alicia Amiri tells CHS. “We’re also looking forward to staking some new ground in a fresh part of town in the face of the changing landscape Capitol Hill.”

Amiri and Crybaby Studios lead Leigh Stone are teaming up with Caffe Vita and Via Tribunali honcho Mike McConnell on a “Capitol Hill complex“-like project taking over an old office building on 2nd Ave in Belltown.

The project will center around Amiri’s new Black Mountain music venue. Planned as a 250-person capacity music club, Amiri said Black Mountain will be all-ages friendly and will neighbor a bar and pizza restaurant. A Caffe Vita Belltown is also part of the plans. Leigh’s Crybaby Belltown studios, practice, and art spaces will fill the second floor of the building.

Amiri says the project is just getting underway and construction is yet to begin on the first floor component of the project but the new Crybaby studios are almost ready to rock. If you’re looking for space to perform or an art studio to work in, Stone is collecting names for a wait list. Send her email here. Room details and rates will be posted soon at

Was offices, soon Capitol Hill west (Image: King County)

Was offices, soon Capitol Hill west (Image: King County)

CHS visited 11th Ave’s Crybaby in 2011. Stone has said the Belltown opening represents an expansion — not a move. Meanwhile, McConnell’s Vita is celebrating 20 years of Seattle coffee culture.

The new Belltown partnership comes as city officials and community representatives are looking at strategies to preserve and create new arts venues on Capitol Hill as the pressure for housing climbs and marketplace for bar and restaurant tenants remains red hot. It also is a reminder of the continually changing face of the Hill and the neighborhoods of Central Seattle and downtown. For those of you feeling competitive with our neighbor neighborhoods, at least Black Mountain isn’t opening in Hill “arch nemesis” Pioneer Square.

Student-powered KSUB aims to be first 24/7 station serving Hill, Hollow Earth making progress in the CD


In-Studio performance at KSUB (Image: KSUB with permission to CHS)

534702_108968455931745_679882417_nNestled under the concrete of the Seattle University campus, the student-run radio station KSUB is about to expand its presence to a radio wavelength covering most of Capitol Hill

A low powered FM license issued recently by the Federal Communications Commission will allow KSUB volunteers to turn their focus towards adding new equipment, raising funds, as well as grabbing permits to get the operation running.

“We don’t know when the station will become operational. Probably a year,” said KSUB advisor and mathematics instructor John Carter. KSUB will look to add new in-studio equipment to buoy the frequency created by a radio tower and transmitter slated for the SU campus. Continue reading

Neumos makes Belltown connection with Rendezvous deal

Neumos celebrated a decade on E Pike earlier in 2014 (Image: CHS)

Neumos celebrated a decade on E Pike earlier in 2014 (Image: CHS)

It’s not exactly like the longtime 2nd Ave venue is now a Capitol Hill music farm club but…

Local bands looking to break into Barboza and Neumos will now be routed through Belltown’s The Rendezvous, according to a new announcement from Neumos management.

“Neumos and Barboza will soon begin expanding their booking reach in Seattle by incorporating the iconic Belltown venue, The Rendezvous, into their organization. Local talent buyer Evan Johnson has been hired on as a buyer with a heavy focus on local shows,” Neumos released today.

Guy Keltner, Neumos marketing manager, explained that Neumos hasn’t purchased The Rendezvous, but instead is utilizing it as the lower tier in the larger Neumos booking empire.

The Seattle Weekly has the rest of the details on the interesting partnership.

Team Neumos is, meanwhile, hard at work planning out July’s 18th edition of the Capitol Hill Block Party. The 2014 lineup announcement details are here.

‘Kicked Out Of Capitol Hill,’ Don’t Talk To The Cops say goodbye

Reign City has the details:

Don’t Talk To The Cops are having their final show and djBlesOne’s birthday celebration this Friday, May 9 at Chop Suey. Their latest song, “Kicked Out Of Capitol Hill,” tackles the Capitol Hill Condo takeover.

DTTTC have the jam:

artworks-000078644722-bhmsk2-t500x500DTTTC say:

Kicked out of our neighborhood by people tearing down a bunch of historic buildings to build a bunch of lame condos for a bunch of people who want to live on Capitol Hill but not really live on Capitol Hill. Bye bye Capitol Hill, R.I.P. Same story in my town as it is in yours…

Well, technically, guys, they aren’t condo buildings… ah, forget it… nevermind.

The new song joins Draze’s The Hood Ain’t the Same on your displaced nostalgia mix tape. And, remember, Capitol Hill — or Pike/Pine, at least — died eight years ago this November.

Capitol Hill Block Party announces full 2014 lineup

IMG_9331-600x400You already know the headliners and the details on what’s new — expanded VERA Stage, for one — now the Capitol Hill Block Party producers have announced the full lineup for the 2014 festival. The new additions probably won’t do much to quell the “never heard of them” critics but KEXP regulars should find their appetites whetted for the summer festival. This is also the day that local bands involving good folks from right here in your neighborhood are stoked to see their band listed on the official roster for the first time. You scheduling and planning types will still have to wait to learn who is playing on which day of the three-day music and Pike/Pine nightlife celebration that draws more than 30,000 revelers to Capitol Hill. Three-day passes are currently on sale with single-day sales for the July 25th-July 27th weekend to come. You can learn more at

Below is the announcement from CHBP and the full roster of performers.

Capitol Hill Block Party 2014 Announces Full Music Lineup 

The Vera Stage Presented by Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card Now Featuring National Acts, Including Dum Dum Girls, The Julie Ruin, and Robert Delong Continue reading

Longtime St. Mark’s choirmaster Peter Hallock dies

(Image: Compline Choir)

Hallock (Image: Compline Choir)

Next Sunday night the men of the Compline Choir will gather at St. Mark’s Cathedral, as they do every Sunday, for the recital of the monastic Compline service. But the songs, which stir contemplation of death and mortality, will resonate with with special poignancy from the western precipice of Capitol Hill.

Dr. Peter Hallock, the longtime St. Mark’s choirmaster, director of music, and founder of the church’s famed Compline program passed away Sunday. He was 89-years-old.

Hallock, an immensely prolific composer and Seattle-area native, was an institution among Episcopal church choirs and musicians. In addition to bringing the Compline service to St. Marks in the 1950s, Hallock was also responsible for acquiring the church’s renowned Flentrop organ. Continue reading

M-bibe’s Stowaway Concert Series

The debut concert of The Stowaway Sessions, an concert series aboard the beautiful and historic S.S. Virginia V, the last steamship from the Mosquito Fleet era, moored on S. Lake Union!

Each ‘Session’ will feature three artists, playing in a round-style setting in the main galley of the ship. The Virginia V will remain dockside during these shows, allowing folks to arrive late/leave early if needed.

This first show features 3 fantastic, Seattle-based musicians: Benjamin Doerr of St. Paul de Vence, Leif Totusek and JR Rhodes. Don’t miss the first-ever Stowaway Sessions!

Check out this beautiful ship & learn more about the Virginia V foundation


WHEN: Thursday, May 1st, 2014
**Doors at 7pm — Show at 8pm**

WHERE: The Virginia V, Dockside in South Lake Union
**Next to the MOHAI museum (860 Terry Ave)**

TICKETS: $14/advance or $17/door (All ages)

** Early-bird tickets: Limited number of $10 entries available **



Benjamin Doerr of St. Paul de Vence (
“Benjamin Doerr’s St. Paul de Vence project has a bit of Beirut’s sepia-toned Old World feel…Filled to the brim with super-sincere lyrics and swooning harmonies” – The Stranger

Leif Totusek (
Journeyman guitarist/composer based in Seattle with years of touring experience in the U.S. and abroad. Leif integrates the musical styles and moods of Ireland, the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti, New Orleans and New York jazz, blues, and rock.

JR Rhodes (
Rhodes’ richly resonant voice is complemented by lyrics that are both emotionally revealing and gracefully poetic. Combining elements of jazz, folk and pop, she grounds her melodies in solid songcraft even as it soars into otherworldly atmospheres. Echoes of everyone from Billie Holiday and Annie Lennox to the Beatles and Motown can be heard in her songs ultimately, though, Rhodes’ work transcends easy comparisons and defies pigeonholes.

We’re all about supporting community through fundraising for nonprofits, supporting musicians and engaging forward-thinking businesses. Check us out at