Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hopscotch 2012 Itinerary

Hopscotch is merely a day away and the anticipation is palpable throughout the Triangle.  It's hard to go many places without hearing or seeing something about the upcoming festivities, and quite frankly I can't express how proud it makes me to call Raleigh my home.  While the shows have yet to begin I've already immersed myself within the joys of Hopscotch festivities.  I'll be broadcasting my weekly Local Lunch shift of WKNC on Friday from Wristband City, so between arranging interviews and sessions for the blog and the radio station, Hopscotch has taken up quite a bit of my days, and I'd not have it any other way.

Between the plethora of Day Parties and the diverse festival lineup, it'd be pretty damn hard to not be able to find something you enjoy throughout any of the next 3 days.  It may be a bit daunting to decide on a schedule, especially if you've already waited this late, but we'll help you navigate through the sea of bands to find exactly what you're looking for.

Thursday starts off with a packed WKNC/WUAG College Radio Showcase at White Collar Crime.  I'd like to stop by The Hive before WKNC's party gets going to check out Caleb Caudle, but sadly I'll be making a mad-dash from campus to home to downtown and unable to catch it.  Caleb Caudle of The Bayonets has recently started recording a full length solo album entitled, Tobacco Town that's already placed high on my list of upcoming local albums I'm anticipating.  Expect smooth alternative country songs from this early set with enough grit to get your feet stomping, but enough honesty to keep your ears open wide for the next lyric that tugs at your heart strings.  Casual Curious will be kicking off the College Radio Day Party at 1:00, a fantastic and infectious band from Greensboro that has recently become one of my favorite rising acts in the state.  They combine electronic indie rock sounds with easy listening/jazzy brass and woodwinds to create a truly unique and invigorating product.  After Casual Curious comes another electronic based act with Wilmington's Dash at 2:00.  Dash's single "Into The Sounds" stole my attention for quite some time when it came across my desk at KNC and it's been hard to put down since then.  They shout echoes of Passion Pit, but display enough originality to place themselves outside of that niche.  The Big Picture goes on at 3:00, a band I've been beyond stoked to see live for quite some time.  The Big Picture features Jonny and Joah Tunnell of The Never, but you won't be finding anything close to those sounds with this project.  The Big Picture is a psychedelic pop/soul band that has their own DJ to boot, making for one hell of a live act.  At 4:00 the show will come to a close with the Jazz-Fusion project from Greensboro known as Trioscapes.  Featuring Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me, this is going to be a one of a kind experience at Hopscotch.  Expect a display of bass mastery, as every time I've gotten to see Dan Briggs play I've been genuinely shocked at how smooth and precise of a player he is, he's got the ability to play the nastiest, blistering riff with ease, or tame the crowd of moshing metal-heads with a soft yet equally insane bass line.  Trioscapes will be the best way to close out Thursday's day parties and get me ready for the tumultuous night ahead.

The night begins with the first half of Phil Cook & His Feat's set from Fletcher Opera Hall.  It'd be a crime not to stop in and check out the beautiful room with one of the Triangle's finest instrumental acts. From there it's a tear between three separate venues.  Jenny Besetzt will be getting my attention for the first stop of the hour at White Collar Crime.  While I'd love to catch the entire set, Jenny will be opening up my Friday Day Party schedule, so cutting out early and heading to Deep South for Some Army won't be an issue.  Some Army is easily the most promising local act to pop up within the past year.  With a fantastic 7" debut earlier this spring, Some Army gave themselves a fantastic foundation for their next release to build from, and that release is just around the corner with their show on September 22 at Local 506 being billed as the EP release show.  Catch as much of Some Army as you can at Hopscotch, as they'll surely be putting on one of the best shows of the night.  Young Magic at Memorial Auditorium will close out this power-trio.  Young Magic is a psychedelic pop trio whose music is northing short of enchanting.

I'll stick around Memorial Auditorium to catch some of Deerhoof's set, but I'll shortly after be bouncing between Drique London at The Pour House and Hacienda at Tir Na Nog.  While I'm incredibly excited for Thursdays bands, I've placed them into two distinct groups.  Artists that are Matthew E. White, and artists that aren't Matthew E. White.  Fletcher Opera Hall is without a doubt my venue of the festival this year, and Thursday's headliner proves just why.  One Incantation Under God will feature 40 musicians onstage performing one of the most beautiful albums I've heard all year with, White's debut full length, Big Inner.  His soulful but subtly grandiose tunes will be on display at one of many one of a kind show's at Hopscotch.  Words can't explain how terribly excited I am for this set.

The day begins with an early 12:00 set at Blurt Magazine & Schoolkid's Day Party from Jenny Besetzt at Deep South.  After that set it's off to Kings for a solo set from Hiss Golden Messenger at 1:25.  Hiss Golden Messenger is one of Friday night's highlights for me, so rather than check out the set at Daily Planet Cafe, this intimate solo performance will serve as a much better precursor.  From King's it's off to Slim's at 2:00 for the garage punk sounds of Flesh Wounds.  A high energy garage show at Slim's should pretty much be on your Hopscotch checklist because it's absolutely exhilarating, you can practically feel the energy bouncing off of the walls.  After Flesh Wounds I'll be bouncing between Longview and King's for Matthew E. White and William Tyler respectively.  The Love Language's Day Party is set is the culmination of my daytime shows, as it's probably been since the last Hopscotch that I got to see a Love Language set, but leaving there and going to The Pour House is definitely a must.  The Pour House will be home to the Brooklyn Vegan Day Party and the headliner is Flock of Dimes, the side-project of Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak.  This will be the perfect way to bridge the gap from Love Language to Zammuto, the opening act for City Plaza's shows.

The first night at City Plaza is one that I'm incredibly excited for, quite frankly Built To Spill is one of the reasons I'm so damn excited for this year's Hopscotch.  Seeing Zammuto in this setting will be fantastic, as there's few things I love more than discovering new bands live, and while I'll enjoy the bit of Jesus and Mary Chain that I stay for, Built to Spill just takes the cake for me here.  Catching a bite to eat will be a definite for these City Plaza shows, but after 9:00 rolls around I'll be off to White Collar Crime to catch Nests for the first time.  Around halfway in I'll be off to the Contemporary Art Museum to check out the ambient surf rock tunes from Zack Mexico.  It'll be a fantastic venue to display the lush textures found within the band's music and a wonderful way to kick of a locally focused night of Hopscotch for me.

After Zack Mexico I'm heading straight of Fletcher Opera Hall and staying for the rest of the evening, as this local 1-2 punch is a definite knock out.  Hiss Golden Messenger's M.C Taylor has already become one of my favorite songwriter's in the state and I've just been introduced to his work in the past year.  This set is going to be a beautiful display of his raw and unabashed honesty within his songwriting, and Fletcher Opera Hall serves as the perfect location for it.  After Hiss Golden Messenger my inner fanboy will begin to creep out for the double dose of The Mountain Goats.  Since I discovered the band some three years ago I realized that I was absolutely enamored by Darnielle's songwriting style.  His unfiltered narratives give us a peek into our own souls as well as others, and this is going to be a show that's unparalleled in sing-alongs and super fans.  The Mountain Goats fan base is a passionate one, and that's what is going to make this show such a special one.  Another incredible ending for an incredible day at Hopscotch.

The last full day of Hopscotch will begin at King's for a set from Airstrip, another fantastic new local band that features Matt from Veelee and Tre of Gross Ghost who just announced a full length album to be released on Holidays For Quince Records in early 2013.  At 1:15 it's off to The Pour House to check out Ryan Gustafson's set at Trekky's Day Dream.  Ryan Gustafson is a name I'd heard around the Triangle for years, but Hopscotch marks my first time getting to see him.  At 2:15 it's off to see Robes at Rebus Works, a band that's coming strong out of the gates on Potluck with some incredibly dancy indie pop tunes.  At 3:00 I'll be moseying over to Mecca to see what Megafaun's Day Party has to offer.  Without any prior knowledge of it I've got to admit I'm still pretty damn excited.  At 4:00 I'll be headed to Tir Na Nog for Annuals, but I'll most definitely head out early and go next door for Gross Ghost's closing set at Trekky's Day Dream at The Pour House.

Shirlette & The Dynamite Brothers kick of City Plaza, and I'm ecstatic to see this set.  I got to catch Mosadi Music at the last year of Troika, and since then I had sadly enough forgotten about Shirlette Ammons, but as I saw the announcement of The Roots' openers I was immediately enthralled by Shirlette & the Dynamite Brothers and knew that this was going to be a Saturday night highlight.  While I don't care much for the second act of Escort, The Roots are always an incredible live act with  dense catalogue of fantastic songs.  After getting to see them for the first time at Bonnaroo this summer I must say I'm giddy to see them so shortly after my first experience.  While their set will be incredible, I'm heading out early to check out Little Hollow at White Collar Crime at 9:00.  I'll be catching the majority of this set, but definitely stopping into the Contemporary Art Museum for the first time of the night to check out T0W3RS highly anticipated set.  The band will be officially releasing a new EP, Wyatt at Hopscotch which will be hidden track by track in "cassingles" throughout downtown.

I'll head from CAM to make a stop at Five Star to check out Baobab, the incredible electronic folk act out of Durham who's had my attention since I saw the band in February at WKNC's Double Barrel Day Party.  I'll be leaving Baobab early to head back to CAM for the energetic Detroit MC Danny Brown's set.  Danny Brown has put on one of the wildest hip-hop shows I've ever seen, but in all fairness he's one of the wildest rappers I've ever listened to as well.  Songs littered with references to his adoration for eating pussy, smoking blunts, and in general Bruiser Brigading about town are tinged with self reflection on addictions and a frenetic lifestyle.  Danny Brown is quite simply dat piff, and will be one of the festival's highlights without a doubt.  While I'm torn between staying to check out Flosstradamus or not, I'll most likely head to see Arnold Dreyblatt & Megafaun at Longview, one of the finest new additions to the venue list at Hopscotch.  From there I'll follow the crowds for the final set of the festival, whether it lead me to Sunn O))), Wye Oak, Whatever Brains, or Flosstradamus, I'm sure my Hopscotch will end on a wonderful, wonderful high note.  2012 has shown to be one of the most stacked lineups yet, so Happy Hopscotch everyone.  Don't go TOO hard, as noon rolls around a lot earlier than you think.

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