Friday, September 9, 2011

Hopscotch Night 1 Review

The Love Language played to a packed
Lincoln Theatre for Night One of Hopscotch
Night 1 of Hopscotch kicked off in a fashion that should have been expected, but I still find myself pleasantly surprised at how incredible everything truly was.  Last year's festival was a great taste for what was to come ahead with the 2011 incarnation, the added venues switched things up a bit but the walk time in between everything was practically nothing, so another excellent job at planning to add three more venues and keep walk times down.

Getting down to business though, I started my night off with Dinosaur Feathers at King's which was incredibly crowded for the opening set of Hopscotch.  The boys in Dinosaur Feathers looked tantalized, thanking the crowd multiple times, but in reality the roles should have been reversed.  Dinosaur Feathers stole the show for me, definitely my pick for favorite set of the night.  Their energy permeated throughout Kings as they showed their prowess with jaunting rhythms and beautiful harmonies, all the while displaying some incredible songwriting.   We're sitting down with the band on Day 2 to record a Bottom String Session, the first of Hopscotch 2011!  Dinosaur Feathers plugged their Raleigh return in October, everyone needs to make it a point to get out there because this band is no joke live.  They've got an incredible talent, they'll snatch your attention in a heart beat and they've got all of the catchy hooks and melodic roller-coasters you could dream of to keep you nestled in tightly.

After Dinosaur Feathers we booked it up the road to catch some of Cassis Orange and seemed to come at a terrible time.  We got to catch one full song before the audio starting messing up for "Listen Heartbeat" and there was a bit of awkward standing around.  They picked it back up regardless and continued on with their joyful Casio-pop sounds, but we didn't stick around much longer.  There's no fault to the band on this to be 100% clear or to the venue, these things happen but it's shitty that we rolled up to the venue right as it did.  Especially since afterwards we attempted to catch what was left of Rhys Chatham at Fletcher only to show up for the last song. Woe is me.

After two failed set viewings we made sure to get there early for The Love Language and I'm certainly glad we did.  The Love Language powered through almost an hour of favorites from Libraries and The Love Language including an awesome sing-along opening for "Manteo".  With "Heart To Tell", "Brittany's Back", and a sweet Diana Ross & The Supremes cover (that will be up on the internet in video goodness for you next week) being set highlights, The Love Language drew the best out of the packed out Lincoln Theatre.  Even getting a trumpet and trombone player brought on stage, the band went the extra mile to leave the fans satisfied and I'd certainly say they did so.  After The Love Language I waited around for Black Lips while my cohorts, Terry and Kyle, ran off to check out Empress Hotel.  I caught the first three songs of Black Lips and figured that I'd seen about enough of what would be the general gist of the rest of their set.  The band brought some interesting energy into the crowd for sure, I loved the mini-pits that were breaking out up front filled with individuals who quite frankly don't really look like they'd be in a mosh pit.

After dipping out from The Lincoln Theatre early I caught most of J Mascis' set at Fletcher Opera Hall.  Coming into it blind to most of Mascis' work I got enjoyment out of it but certainly not as much as I was anticipating to close out the first night of Hopscotch.  Mascis seemed to be phoning it in on a few songs, which when you're one man on stage in a 600 capacity theatre is going to be noticed.  All in all it was a good set, especially the drunk man a few rows down who was fighting his inner-drunken fanboy urge to yell and dance at his favorite songs while still acknowledging his presence in a theatre balcony.  After meeting back with Terry and Kyle the conclusion was the Empress Hotel was the best band that nobody saw at Hopscotch.  "They just rocked out the whole set" was the exact synopsis I first received, and it was with much chagrin that I missed it due to the 21+ rule.  Curses.

An incredible start for what's sure to be an incredible weekend.  Dinosaur Feathers stole the show with The Love Language's set coming in close second.  Day Two starts off early with a Dinosaur Feathers Bottom String Session followed by day parties, day parties, day parties, City Plaza, then another night full of festival goodness.

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