Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hopscotch Night 2 + Day Parties Review

After a jam packed night on Thursday, the beginning of Friday seemed a bit like a blur.  It started off early catching an intimate Dinosaur Feathers performance at Marsh's Woodwinds followed by a filming of the next Bottom String Session with the band.  After that it was off for some Day Party goodness, and while I begin allow me to say that I just stopped following my itinerary completely today.  Oops.  It ended up working out awesomely though with a set from T0W3RS in a crowded Hive being the highlight of the Day Party events for the day.

The beginning of the shows for the day kicked off with Odessafest 2011 at Kings and a...captivating set from Shit Horse.  Terry and Kyle were incredibly stoked about seeing Shit Horse, and until I saw them live it didn't really make sense to me.  I liked Shit Horse but didn't really go out of my way with the band, however, after seeing their live performance I've got to say I'm certainly coming back for more.  The Day Parties are really an excellent way of getting acquainted with some of the local bands you haven't gotten the chance to check out before, it's probably one of the highlights of Hopscotch for me.  It's not hard to wonder why it's a highlight when you stumble upon bands like T0W3RS who in their second live set dazzled the audience with their high energy performance.  While the sound was off, allowing me to hear next to nothing of the female vocalists parts, it all meshed together excellently.  T0W3RS are going to start taking off soon, they've got a knack for catchy melodies and powerful instrumentation.  They're playing at Slims on Sunday for the Hopscotch Hangover and I'd highly recommend everyone to check them out because they've certainly got potential to blossom into something incredible.

After heading out from The Hive it was a day well spent inside of Slims until City Plaza shows kicked off.  I got done with lunch in time to catch most of Last Years Men's set, while I didn't get to see much of it due to how incredible crowded Slims was for this set, the energy practically consumed the room.  While many were packed shoulder to shoulder they were still getting into the loud, frantic tunes of Churchkey's Last Years Men.  Up next was Gross Ghost, I couldn't be more excited about finally getting to see this band after listening to them so extensively.  Working through a broken string, the band powered through with a high energy set where they also announced a potential album release for January.  Color me excited.  I'll be checking out Gross Ghost on Night 3 as well at The Union to get some filming in for our first "You Should Know" piece, highlighting one of our favorite up-and-coming local bands that we think you should know about.  After Gross Ghost was the soothing sounds of Mt. Eerie and I must say that it was an excellent contrast from the two high energy acts before and an excellent way for me to close out my Day Party festivities.  I cut out of here early so Kyle and Terry could charge their phones then set off for The Dodos at City Plaza.

The Dodos are a band I've waited years to get to see and my only qualm with their set was it's length.  The band continued to amaze me with their translation of studio excellence into a phenomenal live performance as well.  It's a stunning fact to me that three individuals can make so many lush layers and textures.  With favorites like "Red And Purple" and "Black Night" peppered throughout the set, The Dodos got the crowd filled with energy for the night full of incredible music.  Drive-By Truckers saw an exponential crowd increase, and the same can be said for Guided By Voices.  It was incredible seeing City Plaza fill up over the night and while I ended up catching some dinner for most of Drive-By Truckers set I did get to hear most of it from a distance, which really is where I'm okay with my Drive-By Truckers.  Guided By Voices put on a hell of a show though in their last ever performance on their big reunion tour.  There was something heart warming about seeing so many children donning Guided By Voices shirts, almost like a hope for the Justin Bieber filled future.  Young or old, Guided By Voices was the name in everyones mouths and on most peoples t-shirts throughout Friday and their set showed me why.  I'd never delved too deep into the world of Guided By Voices, but I can certainly tell why some people have gotten so attached to this band.

My crew cut out of Guided By Voices early to catch Wesley Wolfe's set at White Collar Crime and it was definitely a great decision.  Last time I saw Wesley Wolfe was at Troika last year...note to self never go that long without seeing Wesley Wolfe again.  He emotes with honesty during his performances and while he may not have the most energy for a band in his genre, he can still keep a crowd entranced with his raw and heartfelt vocals.  He may not be pitch perfect for every note, but it all just feels right.  Old Bricks followed Wesley Wolfe and continued to be one of my favorite live bands in the Triangle.  They constantly keep things entertaining with their live shows, each performance I see I leave with a different feeling.  They can have an intimate and moving performance one night and then pull out an ethereal unabashed drum-fest the next.  That's the joy of their versatility.  This show offered another possible album release date with a hopeful October date for their new record.

It was off to catch the end of Annuals at The Lincoln Theatre after Old Bricks, mainly to get a good spot for Twin Shadow.  I saw Annuals a few years back with Minus The Bear at The Lincoln Theatre so it was great seeing how they've developed and grown since the last performance I saw.  While I only caught about 4 songs it was still an enjoyable performance from a band I look forward to hearing some new material from in the near future.  Twin Shadow certainly stole the show in terms of night shows though with his incredibly danceable set that had The Lincoln at capacity.  The bass was booming, the glow sticks were in the air, and the performance was perfect.  "Tyrant Destroyed" and "When We're Dancing" were highlights of the set, particularly the latter with an awesome disco ball moment that featured George Lewis getting bouncing around on guitar with the crowd dancing along in a serendipitous moment to say the least.  The end of Twin Shadows meant that it was time for Swans.  Good lord.  Swans was booming in every sense of the word, whether it be their gong or their live setup that almost diminished the size of Fletcher's stage.  It was certainly a juxtaposition from seeing the one man act of J Mascis on stage alone the night before to seeing the stage filled up with the men in Swans.  I left Hopscotch last night with ringing ears, a sore back and sore feet, but I couldn't be happier.  Day Three is still to come with The Flaming Lips being a moment I've been waiting many many years for.  Happy Hopscotching everyone!

T0W3RS at The Hive

The Dodos at City Plaza

Drive-By Truckers at City Plaza

Guided By Voices at City Plaza

Twin Shadow at The Lincoln Theatre

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