The Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000

Tag: Capitol Hill

Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentlemen, we are floating in space

by on Dec.30, 2008, under Capitol Hill, Music, Seattle

Neumos. Seattle, WA.
September 14, 2008.

On my 27th birthday (September 14, 2008), the Spiritualized tour rolled through Seattle. Unlike most bands that play Neumos, Spiritualized parked buses, not vans, on the street outside the Seattle club. After nearly two decades of music, front man Jason Pierce and Spiritualized at least deserve the extra leg room and air conditioning that a luxury tour rig provides. It had been at least six years since my last Spiritualized concert. Chris Brown and I drove to Detroit and Chicago during the early part of the decade to witness Spiritualized live. While the performances were great, I’ll never forget a girl in the audience who sat on the floor and read a book during an entire show in Detroit. (continue reading…)

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Election Night in Seattle

by on Nov.09, 2008, under Capitol Hill, Events, Party, Seattle

Capitol Hill Obama PartyBarack Obama Victory Rally. Broadway & Pike, Capitol Hill.
Seattle, WA. November 5, 2008.
For at least one night in Seattle, something was getting more buzz than the Fleet Foxes. Tonight is November 4, 2008; the United States of America elected Barack Obama to the Presidency. This is the Andy Aupperlee Explosion 5000 take on things:

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Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band

by on Oct.21, 2008, under Capitol Hill, Music, Seattle

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam BandMt. St. Helens Vietnam Band. Live at Neumos.
Seattle, WA. October 11, 2008

What’s better than free live music? Not much—although getting drunk to help kids might be close. Local bars and spirit makers sponsored a week in Seattle known as “A Drink for the Kids.” On certain nights, participating establishments donated a portion of their sales to The Vera Project, an all ages music venue in Seattle. The week culminated in a music extravaganza at Neumos on Saturday, October 11. New Zealand’s The Ruby Suns opened up with Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band playing second before headliner Tokyo Police Club. Julie won a couple of tickets from The Stranger and took me along. I, of course, invited the Nikon and a few lenses. (continue reading…)

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Fleet Foxes and Goats

by on Oct.03, 2008, under Capitol Hill, Music, Seattle

Fleet FoxesRobin Pecknold of the Fleet Foxes.
Capitol Hill Block Party. July 26, 2008.
Nikon D300. Nikon 18-200mm VR lens @ 105mm.
Aperture Priority. 1/100 sec @ f/5.3. ISO 400.

The Fleet Foxes are incredibly good. Like disgustingly, filthy good. I mean that literally and figuratively. I caught the Fleet Foxes on Saturday at the Capitol Hill Block Party. They played during that space in the day where you are not sure if it’s late afternoon or early evening. That ambiguous hour complimented their timeless sound well. Listening to the Fleet Foxes feels like the first time you figured out how to use your dad’s record player and dug into some Beatles or Simon and Garfunkel. Even though the Fleet Foxes sound like everything you’ve ever heard, their music rings with an urgency and newness that is unmistakably born of this generation.

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U.S.E. at CHBP 2008

by on Sep.25, 2008, under Capitol Hill, Music, Seattle

U.S.E.United State of Electronica. CHBP Main Stage.
Capitol Hill Block Party. July 25, 2008.
Nikon D300. Nikon 18-200mm VR lens @ 200mm.
Aperture Priority. 1/125 sec @ f/5.6. ISO 400.

Two months ago it was not raining in Seattle. Another one of Seattle’s delightful cliches happened to be center stage: music. The annual Capitol Hill Block Party took over the intersection of Pike & Broadway during the last weekend in July. I, with camera in hand, hit the two day festival with Sharat (among others). In addition to a great lineup, the weekend was sufficiently stocked with hipsters, hipster altercations (the now infamous Peter-chair incident), Girl Talk nonsense, and PBR.

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The Sun Sets on Twenty Six

by on Sep.18, 2008, under Seattle, Sunsets, Vistas

The Space Needle and The Brothers.
Taken from a roof near 15th and Howell in Capitol Hill.
7:30 PM. September 14, 2008.
Nikon D300. Nikon 18-200mm VR lens @ 170mm.
Manual. 1/125 sec @ f/5.6. ISO 200.

I found myself on the roof of an apartment building on my twenty seventh birthday. The plan was to meet up with Sharat in Capitol Hill, get dinner with him and Caitlin and then head to the Spiritualized concert at Neumos (review coming soon). Since I planned on shooting the show, I had the D300 and some gear in tow. When I arrived at Caitlin’s condo, Sharat informed me that she had a meeting and would be tied up for a few more minutes. After sitting in her smartly decorated apartment for a few minutes, I commented on how nice of a place it was. He agreed.

“Not bad, right?! It even has roof access. Hey, let’s go up there.”

Roof access? Nice. Not seeing a stairway anywhere, I start walking towards the door. Sharat beckons me to come into the other room, “Roof access is in here.” I walk into Caitlin’s bedroom and see Sharat sliding out of a window onto a fire escape. Roof access? Shit.

Sharat scurries up the iron ladder while I contemplate hanging off the side of a building. After Sharat reaches the top, I diligently begin my slow ascent. I am not sure if 26-year-old-Andy would have been any less cautious, but the newly 27-year-old-Andy did not have any rush. “Three points of contact, yall!” Thanks for the tip, Sharat. The vista that awaits me on the roof is worth the moderate anxiety of climbing an old ladder. The Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, Space Needle and Seattle skyline contrast prominently with the gold September sky.

Sharat offers to run down and grab my camera after I realize I should have brought it. I am grateful to him for this since I did not want to climb that ladder anymore than I had to. To avoid photographing electrical lines, I positioned the camera several inches from the surface of the roof. Since Program Exposure or any automatic mode always ruins sunsets; I took a meter reading of the sky straight above my head, switched to manual, plugged in the settings and worked from there. Since my Dell (loaded with Photoshop) insists on showing me her Blue Screen of Death, I could not edit this photo. This image, for all intensive purposes, comes straight out of my Nikon D300. I promise to repost a cleaned up image once the Dell is fixed or I drop $2.5k and finally get a MacBook Pro.


Who does not love zany Capitol Hill hipsters and their hilarious sense of irony? I found this sign at 11th and Denny. I cannot think of a better neighborhood to display it. Capitol Hill is easily the most progressive and artistic neighborhood in Seattle. Wild fashions and alternative lifestyles are not simply tolerated, they are essentially the dress code. As with any effervescent center of music, fashion, and art; the progeny of its denizens ranges from the everlasting to the ephemeral. Much can be made of any single moment, especially when the moment-makers are striving to be earnest. I still smile at Jack Kerouac’s clever turn of phrase, “art is short, life is long.” It is easy to succumb to the gravity of a scene or cultural whim. Remembering that such episodes are likely “ONLY A FAD” serves as a poignant check. Ultimately, the details of our discourse are unimportant. What really matters is that we had the conversation.
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Summer Seattle Sunset

by on Jul.10, 2008, under Capitol Hill, Seattle, Sunsets, Vistas

Lake Union and The George Washington Bridge.
Seattle, WA. 8:54 PM. July 7, 2008.
Nikon D300. Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Manual. 1/125 sec @ f/10. ISO 200.

The fifty degree weather of clouds and rain that plagued Seattle through May seems long behind us. Atmospheric conditions in the Pacific Northwest are nearly perfect right now. Seattleites don rain jackets and pour coffee down their throats during the winter because they know life in July, August and September is unrivaled anywhere else.

Throughout much of the year, The Puget Sound withholds its beauty; only occasionally does it allow un-overcast glimpse of mountains, water and sky. About a week ago, I drove along 10th Avenue in Capitol Hill on my way back to Wallingford from Volunteer Park. The view looking west was striking: Lake Union, The George Washington Bridge, Gas Works Park, Queen Anne, Ballard and The Olympic Mountains. Expansive vistas like these boldly contrast with the limitless gray endured during the winter.

I decided to return to the 10th Avenue vantage point with my camera on a clear night to catch the sunset. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many clouds in the sky to play with the light, but this image conveys the absolute wonderful climate we are experiencing here in the corner of the country. Let me know when you’ll be visiting.

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