As you know, I went to the Hopscotch Music Festival last weekend. You’ve read the prologue, the Day One recap, and the Day Two recap. Now it’s time to recap Saturday, the last day of the festival.
After checking out of the hotel, I visited a friend for lunch at a local eatery, then headed downtown for some of the free Day Party stuff. One one of the outdoor stages, I caught a good bit of Oneida, and that worked out well because I had them on a long list of “plan B” options for when they were officially playing later that night.
I moved inside because I wanted to catch Jane Jane Pollock, an experimental pop band from Georgia who focuses a good deal on unique percussion. They were a band who I had penciled in for part of the Saturday night festivities, and it was brilliant to be able to see them early. I liked what they were doing, and they were certainly exhibiting their experimental side. At one point, one of the guys was sitting on the stage floor with a bunch of stainless steel mixing bowls, using them as makeshift drums. Not the kind of bowls you have in your kitchen at home. The kind from a restaurant kitchen. There were a couple of other kitchen things in there as well, and it was pretty cool. Weird, but cool.
Apparently, that whole Day Party showcase at Kings Barcade was made up of bands from Athens, Georgia. The next band was a dream-pop band called Easter Island, who were apparently in a car crash on the way to the show. They seemed like they were fine, and they played a good set. They reminded me of Ride.
There was another Athens band called Glass Giraffes, and I watched a song or two of theirs, but it wasn’t working for me, so I went outside. I caught the last half of Megafaun, who were playing on the outdoor stage. Two years ago, they were the hit of the festival with their Friday night show, and they were back as the headliner of the free Day Party. I’m not sure that I love them, but it was a good set and I was thoroughly entertained.
That wrapped up the Day Party stuff. It was about 5:30. I had no interest in going to the City Plaza shows that were headlined by The Roots. The next show that I wanted to go to wasn’t until 9:00.
I was exhausted, so I went to my car and laid down for about 20 minutes, trying to get a little bit of sleep. Although I didn’t sleep, I did get a little recharge from laying down. After going out for something to eat, it was still barely even 6:15, so I went back to lay down in the car for a little while longer. I soon had the option of finding some place to go and drink for a couple of hours, or find something to do away from downtown for a couple of hours.
Lucky for me, The Rialto Theatre is one of the “select nationwide theatres” showing the indie comedy movie Sleepwalk With Me, which is produced by Ira Glass from NPR’s “This American Life”. It stars, was written by, and is based on the life of comic Mike Birbiglia, who is a regular contributor to “This American Life”. He had some very strange experiences with sleepwalking, and he incorporated those stories into his comedy act and his storytelling. After some success with that, he turned it into this movie.
I drove to the theatre for the 7:00 showing, and as soon as I parked the car (two blocks away), it started to pour. Torrential downpour. I’m just glad that I wasn’t outside. Not for very long anyway.
The movie was a nice break, and it was right up my alley as far as the comedy goes. It’s definitely not for everybody, but I loved it. I highly recommend it if it’s playing in your city.
By the time the movie was over, the rain had stopped, and I drove back in plenty of time to make it to the last night of Hopscotch.
The first thing that I went to was back at White Collar Crime. A Chapel Hill two-man band called Little Hollow. Their brand of low-fi soul just wasn’t for me, and it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I guess I had confused them with some other similarly-named band. I left after about four songs.
I headed up to Kings, where Chapel Hill legends Shark Quest were playing. I saw them once many years ago and liked them. I liked them again, but it was nothing mind-blowing.
The Band in Heaven
The next thing was the South Florida shoegaze band The Band in Heaven
. They were at Tir na nOg, which isn’t the best place to see a band, but it’s fine until you have more than about 80 people in there. I liked what I heard from their record, and I liked them even more when I saw them play. They had to deal with a couple of obnoxious dudes who were crowding the stage and trying to heckle the band. Based on the way they were dancing and the looks on their faces, I think they thought that they were at a Jimmy Buffett show. The band handled those dudes fairly well and didn’t lose focus on playing a great set. The sound wasn’t great, but the sound is never great there. I stayed for their entire set.
The thing that was to be next on my list was Silver Swans. I was actually pretty excited for that one. However, they were playing at the lamest excuse for a venue that I’ve ever been to. The Hive. I’m sure their setup is fine for a Tuesday night and a guy with an acoustic guitar, but it was way too narrow and cramped, and there weren’t even very many people there. I decided to ditch that before Silver Swans even started, and I opted to spend the rest of my night at the Lincoln Theatre.
I walked down to the Lincoln just as Mac Mcaughan was finishing his last song. I didn’t even get to see who the band with him was. It wasn’t Superchunk, and it wasn’t Mac solo, but I have no idea who else was on stage with him.
Anyway, it had been more than 12 years since the last time I saw Versus
, who have been favorites of mine for 20 years now. My original plan was to skip them since I’ve seen them a bunch of times before. The original plan was to go see the saxophone magician Colin Stetson. When it got to be time to make that final call, I decided to do the sensible thing instead of the hardcore thing. The sensible thing, of course, is to minimize all that walking around. The hardcore thing is to do a lot of walking around for the express purpose of being able to check more names off the list. I was tired, and I had already had a very good time at Lincoln on Thursday and on Friday. So I decided that the Lincoln would be my last stop.
Versus played a wide variety of stuff from their catalog, including some brand new stuff that they’ve never played before. Even though the band had gone separate geographical ways in the hiatus that they took from 2001-2009, they’re back now, and the fact that they have new songs is good. They closed with one of my top three Versus songs: “Double Suicide (Mercy Killing)”.
Finally, the last thing was Wye Oak
. Of all the bands without “Jesus” in the name, they were the one that I was the most excited to see. Everything I had seen at the Lincoln Theatre up until then was amazing. It made perfect sense for them to be the last band I see at the festival, in the venue that had done a lot of right by me.
Unfortunately, it kind of fizzled. While they were great for a few songs, I just wasn’t getting as much out of it as I had hoped. I enjoyed their set, but I wasn’t floored by it. Maybe I set my expectations too high. Maybe I was experiencing that thing that you experience on the last day of a nice vacation. Melancholy. Maybe I was just ready to go home. Whatever it was, I left the Wye Oak show feeling flat.
I think the best thing that I saw on Saturday was Versus. Band in Heaven was a close second.
When it was all over, I was sad that there wasn’t another day of great music, but at the same time, I don’t think I could have taken another day. I was definitely ready to go home.
Sometime tomorrow, I’ll wrap this up with a postscript.