Matson on Music
Block Party 2012 day one: Father John Misty, Kung Foo Grip
Father John Misty; photo by Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times
Clouds gave way to sunshine for Father John Misty aka Josh Tillman at Capitol Hill Block Party, the drummer from Fleet Foxes gone solo. He opened the festival on the main stage with his band, singing loud and clear in his low tenor voice, swiveling his hips to the beat. He used to reside in Seattle but Tillman has gone California. You can see it in his loafing-around-the-house stage presence. It's present in his interviews, where he routinely references psychedelic drugs. And the Golden State featured prominently in the best song he played, the Neil Young and Crazy Horse-ish "Hollywood Cemetery Forever Sings," the title referencing a famous graveyard home to many a star of the silver screen.
There's nothing quite like youthful, hyped-up energy. Rap duo Kung Foo Grip from Seattle's Eastiside suburbs had that to the max on the VERA Project stage, and it was plenty to move a small crowd to dance and throw their hands in the air around dinner time. The audience didn't seem to know the songs, but rappers Greg Cypher and Fish were fairly understandable through their microphones, getting knowing reactions with lines like "I'm the Beastiest Boy." A bluesy live band joined toward the end, making an unlikely combo of twangy guitar and hip-hop.