This is the third year in a row I will attend the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina. Three days of spending time with my friends from all over the east coast, drinking amazing local beer and seeing some outrageously good bands. Here’s a sampling of what I have seen the past two years: Public Enemy, Superchunk, Bleeding Rainbow, Ben Frost, KORT, John Vanderslice, Hospitality, Whatever Brains, The Love Language and Cults. While I usually average over 30 bands during each 3-day fest (there are multiple day parties like South by Southwest where you can sometimes get free beer or baked goods), this year I will probably slow down and choose my bands more carefully.
I doubt I will get to all of these shows, but here are some of the acts I am most looking forward to seeing.
Matthew E. White: One Incantation Under God
So Matthew is from my city and one of my dear friends plays in his band. But this show will be an experience. His new record is selling like crazy at my favorite record stores (including one in NC). Read more about this special performance here.
The Jesus & Mary Chain
[Note: this video is horribly cheesy.] I still can’t believe they are headlining. J&MC have probably deeply influenced half the bands I listen to now. They’re reuniting for a few shows and I’m kind of glad I don’t have to stand up, really close to strangers in the 9:30 Club to see them (Hopscotch also has better, cheaper beer). Headliners play outdoors in a giant courtyard.
One of the best things about Hopscotch is being able to discover fantastic local music from the Triangle area. I heard about this band through friends and they have a very nice Love Language-type pop quality. The venue where they are performing in this video (The Pour House) is part of the fest: I saw Sleepy Sun there the first year and they also host good day parties.
I will buy just about everything Captured Tracks puts out. Honestly, this is a little heavier than what I normally listen to, but they’re coming from Sweden and it’s their first U.S. show since the release of their record. Plus they’re opening for…
Thee Oh Sees
A lot of the modern garage and psych-influenced stuff is not as catchy as this. This is one of the only bands my husband and I both really like that are playing so we might meet at their show.
Hiss Golden Messenger
I am way into how country rock is sounding so 70s right now (see: Father John Misty). This Durham fellow reminds me of everything I listened to when I was a kid and it makes me super happy. There is a very good chance I will end up at this show because it’s a venue with seats and I heard Zola Jesus, who is playing at the same time, has a smoke machine and my allergies cannot take that.
I knew a lot about this band but had never heard much of their stuff until Chris Stamey performed at one of the Hopscotch’s panels last year. This song, which is on one of the Poptopia collections (seriously get them now), was recorded after Stamey left but it captures their power pop sound perfectly.
Built to Spill
I have been listening to this band for 15 years and have never seen them live. This will all be changed in a week when they play right before J&MC.
She is from Norway (yay my people!) and I adore her beautiful, creepy music. It’s so unlike anything else I listen to–I don’t dark or haunted very well.
Flock of Dimes
I saw this new band featuring Jenn from Wye Oak open for Sharon Van Etten a few months ago and I really enjoyed this song Jenn wrote in the style of Robyn. They’re playing a day party!
Katie and I saw The Roots at Jon Stewart’s rally in DC a few years ago and they were amazing. Granted we were like a million feet away… This time I will be much closer to them but if they play all of Undun I will probably cry.
I don’t know if I will be doing a full recap when I return but I will be tweeting photos and observations, so follow us here.