Recapping Hopscotch — Day one

You’ve read my prologue to my Hopscotch Music Festival recap. Now it’s time to get down to the real business. The music.

I tried to take a couple of notes and a couple of pictures at every band that I saw. All the pictures you’ll see in this post are pictures that I took. I must apologize for the quality of my photography. If I knew what I was doing, my camera would produce better pictures. Better than nothing, I guess. Click on them if you want for the larger image.

Jenny Besetzt

I started my Hopscotch Festival at White Collar Crime, and the first band was Jenny Besetzt, a band from Greensboro. I got to the club a little early, relaxed with a beer, and just waited for the show to start. For some reason, I wasn’t as into it as I thought I would be. I’m not sure what it was. I just couldn’t get into it. Since I was still trying to do everything, I left their set about four songs in, and headed over to the next one on my list. For what it’s worth, I only went to one other show at that venue, and I didn’t like that set either.

Lilac Shadows

I made it over to Kings Barcade while Lilac Shadows were a couple of songs into their set. I was immediately impressed by what I saw. The sound was great, they were having a great time, and there were was an amazing light/dark show. I took time out to tweet something like “Lilac Shadows are killing it!”
With the quality of the picture, it’s sort of hard to make out, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Almost in complete darkness is the guitar player. Right of frame, there’s his shadow on the wall, and to the left of that, the shadow of the head of the bass guitar. It was much cooler to see in person, and I wish I knew how to control my camera better to show the shadows better. One of these days, I’ll learn. As an aside, In the dark, I was under the impression that the club was much spacier than it really is. I stayed until the end of their set, and it was right then when it was going to get tricky.

By now, it was already 10:20, and the plan was to catch some of Altos at The Lincoln Theatre and some of Free Electric State back at Kings. They were both playing at 10:30, and the venues are about a five minute walk apart from each other. That would be doable. And I also wanted to catch at least a few songs of Deerhoof. They were playing a two hour set, and I would have plenty of time for that. So I thought.

Altos

At some point before any of the music started, I had a twitter exchange with Altos, and that tiny little thing made me start there before splitting that 10-11 slot and moving on to Free Electric State. As I watched Altos set up, I was pretty amazed at how quick and efficient they were at getting their stuff on stage and in place. I knew that they were a 12-piece band, but I was still kind of blown away by the fact that there were so many of them. Sometimes a large band like Godspeed You! Black Emperor will travel with a pared down version. Not these kids! As soon as they started playing, I knew that there was no way I was going to leave their set. Too bad for Free Electric State. Too bad for Deerhoof. In fact, I took time to tweet:

Fuck a bunch of Deerhoof. Anyone who’s at Hopscotch and isn’t at The Altos right now is missing out. Get your ass here!

Violins, violas, trumpets, guitars, more guitars, more violins, drums, another drummer, more drums, more violin, more guitars, a cello, keyboards, more guitars. Everybody singing. Everybody switching instruments. Everybody having a great time. They do a lot of things that would independently make me happy. They do a bunch of them at the same time, and that makes them a dangerous band. A dangerously good band. When their set was over, I tweeted:

The Altos just blew me the fuck away. Can JAMC top that tomorrow? It’ll be tough

Julia Holter

By the time they got done, there was a small gap before the scheduled start of the next thing that I wanted to see. I could have walked around and caught one or two songs of Hacienda, and I really wanted to catch a song or two of Boy Friend, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I walked over to the Long View Center, which is a church. Julia Holter was playing there at midnight. I got there in time to sit down in one of the pews and relax a bit before she took the stage. Something wasn’t right about it. The sound was good, and it was almost appropriate for her music to be coming out of a church. But sitting in a pew wasn’t right. And there wasn’t anywhere else for us to be, unless we climbed the stairs to the altar. The lighting was a bit strange, too. Still, even if it was an uncomfortable pew, it was still nice to be off my feet for a while. I stuck around for almost her entire set.

Originally, Exitmusic was scheduled to play as the last band of the night at Kings, and I was very excited about that, but a week or so before the festival, Exitmusic backed out. Aleksa had some acting obligation, which I assume was Boardwalk Empire, but whatever it was, it meant that they had to back out. I was, and still am, bummed that I didn’t get to see them. Had they played, I would have only seen a song or two of Julia Holter and I wouldn’t have seen any of Donovan Quinn.

Donovan Quinn

Next was the long walk from Long View to Five Star to see Donovan Quinn. By the time I got there, I was completely wiped out. I arrived at 12:45, but he didn’t start until about 1:00. Maybe it was the long walk, maybe it was the strange venue. Maybe it was knowing that I still had an even longer walk ahead of me to get back to my car. I wasn’t really able to get into it. There were chairs, and I wasn’t shy about using one of them. I stayed for about five songs, but I was quickly running out of steam, so I headed back to the car.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember which one of the smaller parking decks I had parked in, and it took a few minutes of walking around once I got to the general area. By the time I got back to my hotel, it was after 2am.

I stayed up to mess around with the pictures that I took (there were many more) and to send some emails to friends of mine who decided to go to a wedding instead of to Hopscotch. I reminded them that they were missing a very good time and I specifically went on about how much I liked Altos.

By the time I got to bed, it was after 3am, maybe even close to 4, and I hadn’t had much to eat all day. I’ll know next time to make sure I eat more.

Anyway, that was my day one.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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