On Saturday, I decided to give myself a bit of a break. I woke up, did my writing, and went back to sleep for a bit. I didn’t have anything that I was desperate to see at the day parties, so I thought I would get over there at a casual pace. I slept more than I thought I would, and as morning turned into afternoon, I started to think that I might skip the day parties altogether. I slept some more. Then I remembered that I didn’t even need to head over there for the City Plaza show or the Red Hat show. Instead of going down there just so I could wander around drinking, I relaxed in the hotel and watched the US Open Women’s final. I’m really happy that Sloane Stephens won. After that, I watched a little bit of college football before finally heading downtown fully rested and recharged.The first set I went to was Raleigh band Blois, who were kicking off the night over at Kings. I didn’t know anything about them. Just that they’re a dream pop band. There’s a little bit of electronics: some noise modulators and some other synth-like noise. I really liked them. I was reminded a little of Memoryhouse. At least the first Memoryhouse record. After their set, I walked over to Fletcher for Sound of Ceres. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I was really pleasantly surprised. As I’ve said, I didn’t really do the amount of homework that I normally do, so I was kind of blind going in. I only knew that the Brooklyn by way of Fort Collins, Colorado band was electro/psych/experimental dream pop. On quick listen, Karen Hover’s voice reminds me a lot of the late Trish Keenan out of Broadcast. And the band’s music kind of reminds me of them, too. I didn’t know that this band features former members of The Apples in Stereo. I also didn’t know that their forthcoming album was produced by Alex Somers in his Reykjavik studio. That guy has produced some really great records by Sigur Rós, Julianna Barwick, and Briana Marela, just to name a few.
The Sound of Ceres set was something I’ve never seen before. They have a mesh screen set up on the stage, on which they project a three-dimensional laser display. Hover interacted with the display all night, and it was really cool. In the picture above, you can see the lasers dancing, and you can just see the silhouette of Karen Hover. I made a video, and maybe later I’ll upload it. I had no expectations at all about that band, and I really loved their thing. Their new album The Twin is coming out on October 6. Next up was Beverly, over at Deep South. Over the years, I’ve only been to a few sets at Deep South, but they’ve all been memorable, including last year’s amazing set by Diet Cig. On records, they’re just a duo, but when they play live, there are five of them. At least there were last night. They were exactly what I was expecting. Energetic and fun. And they sounded great. Next, I walked over to The Pour House for Cherry Glazerr. I didn’t know much about the Los Angeles band, but they were a bit heavier than I was expecting. It’s a band that I might have gotten really into if they had existed 20 years ago. I think the frontwoman of the band wasn’t even alive 20 years ago. There’s a lot of howling and heavy guitar punctuated with soft, melodic moments. For the first time all weekend, I needed my VIP wristband to get in. There were other advantages to the wristband, but that was the full house venue that I encountered. I only stayed for a few songs, and the line to get in was pretty long when I left.
I left one totally packed house for another totally packed house. I really needed to see Japanese Breakfast, though. I went to see them open for Mitski last June in Durham, but I didn’t really pay attention to the show. They were scheduled to play last year’s Hopscotch, but they didn’t make it. To be honest, I haven’t spent very much time with the new record, but I loved the 2016 debut record, and I was really excited about this set. When I arrived at the door for Neptune’s, there was one huge line for King’s and one for Neptune’s. I got a bit worried, but once again, my VIP wristband got me in ahead of the rest of the general admission folks. Neptune’s is one of the venues where you can’t see a thing if it’s crowded. The ceilings are fairly low, and they can’t raise the stage, so visibility is bad. A contributing factor is that Michelle Zauner is tiny. Even though I was only about five deep from the stage, I could barely see. I couldn’t get a decent picture. It didn’t matter, though. It was an amazing set. For the second night in a row, I ended my night at Neptune’s, seeing a band for whom I had very high expectations. For the second night in a row, I was very happy. They were on point, they were excited to be part of the festival, and they had the crowd jumping. During their last song, Zauner did a little bit of crowd surfing. I can never get enough of that kind of thing.
So far, this has been a great festival, and there are still a lot of highlights coming today. There are still a bunch of bands playing at Red Hat today, including my two most anticipated shows of the festival: “Mary Timony plays Helium” and Angel Olsen. I was a huge Helium fan, but I never saw them live. I never saw Mary Timony play solo, but I did see her with Wild Flag. She’ll be playing at 4:15.
I’ve only seen Angel Olsen one time, and it was absolutely breathtaking. Here’s the video I made last time:
I’m obviously looking forward to seeing her again tonight at 8.