Notes from Hopscotch Day 1

As you all know, I’m attending the fifth annual Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh this weekend. The festival features 160 bands this year, and there was a lot of great action last night.

I started the night by meeting some friends who encouraged me to go with them to see Drag Sounds. They were on my “plan B” agenda anyway, and they’re a band with ties to my home town of Greensboro, so I was eager to represent the 336. I liked what they were doing, and it was the first time I had ever been to the Pour House. However, I only stuck around for a few songs because I was anxious to move along.

Next was Lee Noble. I dragged one of my friends with me down to the Fletcher Opera Theater for his set. My buddy didn’t know anything about him and I didn’t know much. I really enjoyed his ambient tape loop stuff and I was reminded quite a bit of Lovesliescrushing. He played for only about 30 minutes, and I think it was just one “song”. I wish he played more, but it was pretty great.

By this time, some heavy rain had moved in and we were pretty much stuck at Fletcher. It turned out to be a good thing. I had other stuff on my “plan A” and “plan B” agendas, but that all got nixed. I ended up staying there for New Music Raleigh. A stringed instrument quartet that I might have had very little interest in if it wasn’t for the rain. I absolutely loved what they did. Some electronics mixed in with the violins and the cello. It was way more ambient than I was expecting, and way, way cooler than I was expecting.

My friends wanted to stay there for the percussion ensemble IIII, and they did stay there. I walked through the rain to see indie-folk guitar guy Matt Kivel. In a church. It was pretty cool and very mellow, but I was only able to stay for about four songs. I had to keep good on a promise to go see Landlady.

Landlady had barely even started their set when I started to get texts from one of my friends encouraging me to stop what I was doing and start making my way over to King’s for the Tim Hecker set, which wouldn’t even start for 30 minutes. This is my friend who has been praising Tim Hecker’s records for as long as we’ve been friends. Even when he routinely puts Tim Hecker records in the top five of his year-end lists, I had never taken the time to see what the buzz was about. On this night, I promised my friend that I would end my night there instead of at Thurston Moore. One of our mutual friends was all about The War on Drugs, and there was some discussion about how to handle that dilemma.

I knew that I’ll have other chances to see Thurston Moore this weekend, and I love the venue at King’s, so I opted for Tim Hecker. It was a great choice. Hecker played on a completely unlit stage as he crafted a magnificent soundscape. I was completely blown away by all of it. Maybe it was how crazily dark it was in there, but I seriously felt like I was in a different place.

There was a lot of drinking, a lot of rain, a few unexpected surprises, and I bumped into a few people who I haven’t seen for several years. The rain didn’t put a damper on things at all. It was a great night. So far, my favorite has been Tim Hecker, but there’s a lot of stuff left to see and hear.

Today will be a very long day, and we shouldn’t be getting any more rain, so I’ll be doing a lot of walking. The “day party” stuff is about to get started, and one of the big things that is sort of flying under the radar is that the members of Yo La Tengo are here performing under a different name.

More on this later.

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

2 responses to “Notes from Hopscotch Day 1

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