October 2, 2012

Hopscotch Music Festival 2012: Day 1

For everything original and heartfelt and not sponsored by Doritos in indie music these days, Raleigh NC's Hopscotch Music Festival is rapidly becoming an institution. For three years now, the event - curated by Grayson Currin and The Independent, Raleigh's alternative weekly newspaper - has brought hundreds of bands to the RDU area every September (2012's lineup boasted nearly 200) to play, including countless obscure and foreign acts as well as huge names such as Sunn O))) and The Jesus and Mary Chain, bands who might otherwise never tour through the area or this country even. Many people took notice of the fest this year: music dorks from all around the U.S. (and indeed the world) flew in for the fest, and a variety of publications, including our Decoder #BlogLife crew of Jheri, Audrey and I were there to do coverage. I think it's fair to say we had a fucking blast.

The festival started on Thursday, and while Jheri had to be in Wilmington for an art show he was doing that night, I met up with my photographer buddy Aaron Ellis, and we kicked off our Hopscotch weekend by heading over to a free day show at the cozy Kings Barcade to check out the blissed-out dreampop of Greensboro's Jenny Besetzt (who we profiled earlier this year).

[Holograms @ Red Palace in D.C. on September 5, 2012]
After the show, we met our dedicated photographer, Audrey, at Hopscotch headquarters at the Sheraton downtown (at their so-called Wristband [Rack] City) so we could get signed in and plan out the day's hijinx. After being hella confused by the hotel's key-activated elevator as we tried to drop off Audrey's stuff in a room on the 9th floor, we all jetted down to the Contemporary Art Museum for a scheduled interview we had with analog-punk Swedish firebrands Holograms. No sooner did we set foot in CAM though did this torrential downpour of water start outside, trapping us in the lobby. In fact, the rain got so gnarly that the whole bottom floor of the museum was waterlogged and had to be cordoned off from visitors. The aforementioned Swedes were out in the rain somewhere,so we took it easy and hung around as the Hopscotch 2012 VIP function started. As "exclusive" festival events for VIP wristband holders tend to be, it was kind of weak and overly self-important, but a person who says no to free beer and finger food is not a person I vibe with.

[Young Magic @ Memorial Auditorium]
[Audrey with Meladi of Young Magic]
After gorging on free sandwiches and talking to the homie Kyle Rosko from local Raleigh record shop Schoolkids, we went over to Memorial Auditorium to do our scheduled interview with Young Magic, who were wonderful people and answered some nerdy, fanboy-ish questions I had about Purity Ring and their involvement with Carpark Records. Their set, while maybe underattended for a room the size of Memorial (granted, the set was early and one of the first of the whole festival) was hair-raising; "Night In The Ocean" live makes my veins ice over every time.

[Deerhoof @ Memorial Auditorium]
After hanging out with Audrey and Young Magic for a bit, I went back in and bopped around with some drugged-out kids for a few songs of upbeat psych-rockers Deerhoof, who drove the crowd mad with their bouncy, frenetic indie pop. Hopscotch is all about logistics, so I was unable to make it in time to talk to Holograms (Audrey caught them previously, as her lovely photos above show). I instead went over to Lincoln Theatre, to see the Jersey-fueled rage of Screaming Females, followed by the onslaught of noise and pure testosterone that was Trash Talk. Trash dominated the audience for the few songs I caught; their singer backflipped into the crowd and (accidentally?) elbowed me and a few other bystanders in the face and it was rad.

[Pictureplane @ Kings Barcade]
We ended the night at Kings for trance magician Travis Egedy aka Pictureplane's set, who threw down a massive-sounding performance and had the whole floor (many of whom seemed to have accidentally walked in from the bar downstairs, dressed in their finest chic dadwear) busting out their Miami 1994 moves. After talking to Travis for a bit and getting a sweet free poster from him, we left Kings and proceeded to watch one of our musician friends (who will remain nameless) do the cooking dance for some black women and attempt to start a knife fight with another musician (true story), at which point we figured it was time to call it taps.

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