As you all know, I spent the weekend at the 2013 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh. Just as I did last year, I’m breaking down my coverage by day. You can read the coverage of Thursday here. The coverage of Friday is here.
Saturday, the final day of the festival, was a really full and slightly dramatic day. The “dramatic” part of it will be part of a separate post.
Because I knew that there would be some scheduling conflicts on Saturday night, I made sure to head downtown early for the day party action. The most important to me of the day party stuff was Torres. Actually, she was among the most intriguing acts of the whole festival for me, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it to her regular set. I headed up to The Hive and got there just as she was starting. It was a short, but fantastic set. I had one beer while I was there. While I wouldn’t normally mention this, it’s important to the big picture.
After Torres, I headed to Slim’s to catch Deleted Scenes. Again, their regular set was scheduled for a time when it just wasn’t going to be possible for me to see them. It was a good, but not spectacular set.
I headed down near the Lincoln Theater, where there were food trucks and where there were supposed to be some bands playing outside. I had a delicious but small burger from the Only Burger food truck. It was about 2:00, and this was the only food that I had all day. Washed it down with a soda, which was the only non-alcoholic beverage I had all day. You might already know where this is headed.
Kelley Deal during soundcheck
After wandering around a little bit, I decided that I needed some cash, so I headed down to City Plaza, where I knew there was an ATM for my bank. To my surprise, I saw that The Breeders
were soundchecking. Good timing. I decided, since there were only a handful of people there, to enjoy the soundcheck. They sounded really good, which gave me great hope for their regular set. I’d heard that they sounded awful at Pitchfork, and one of my friends was doubting whether he wanted to even bother with their set.
As they are doing on their entire tour, their regular set consisted of all of the songs, in order, from their 1993 album Last Splash, plus a few other songs from the era. During soundcheck, they played the songs in a different order. And they interacted with the “crowd” a lot. Which I really enjoyed.
After the soundcheck, and after I seized the opportunity to say hello to Kim and Kelley, I went to walk around a little more. I thought I would catch some more day party shows, but I never did. I was feeling a little bit tired, so I headed back over to City Plaza, got a beer (number two of the day) and sat down.
As it got closer to show time, they cleared the Plaza, and said that the gates would open after about 20 minutes. Instead of walking around, or getting something to eat, I just stood there and waited for the gates to open. When they did, I got one more beer (the third and final of the night), and it was only about 5:30.
The first band on the City Plaza bill was the Raleigh indie pop band The Lollipops. I’d never heard them before, but I was really impressed by their set. Young kids playing some really great stuff. At some point during their set, my friend Bill showed up and found me in the front row.
Bill went to grab something to eat from one of the little restaurants in the plaza. I opted out of that. Normally, this wouldn’t be noteworthy, but that decision would come back into play later.
The Breeders were on point, just as they were during sound check. Bill confirmed that it was much, much better than the set that they grudgingly played at Pitchfork. I got a couple of decent pictures and a pretty decent video of them playing “I Just Wanna Get Along”
Space-rock band Spiritualized was the headlining band that night. They’re a band that I’m only marginally familiar with. I remember that they had a couple of records out 20 years ago, and I remember that they had an album Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space, from 1997. Unlike The Breeders, Spiritualized has been active the entire time since the 1990s. My friend Bill was extremely excited about their set, and while seeing them wasn’t part of my original plan, I stuck around for it. The fact that we were still in the front row, which would normally be a petty detail, would come back into play a short while later.
I was enjoying the Spiritualized set a lot more than I thought I would, but I was starting to feel really fatigued. I thought, though, that if I could just make it to the end of their set, I’d be on easy street since the Low show was in a seated theater.
A little more than halfway through the set, I started to feel a bit woozy, so I told Bill that I was going to wade my way out of there and sit down for a bit. Apparently, I didn’t bother to wade out of there. I collapsed, and was apparently out cold for a few seconds. I was no worse for the wear, but I needed some sitting down time and a bunch of hydration before I was ready to get back into action.
I’ll give deeper details about that in a separate post.
We watched the rest of the Spiritualized set from the sidelines, then headed over to Fletcher Hall for the Low set. I was anticipating a mad rush over there, and I was also anticipating a packed house. Neither of those things happened. I still don’t understand why there wasn’t a packed house.
We got there while the Brooklyn chamber-pop/post-rock ensemble San Fermin were wrapping up their set. Somehow, in my extensive Hopscotch homework, I missed the chapter on San Fermin. I loved the two or three songs that we were able to see, and they were very much up my alley in the same way that The Altos is. You’ve probably heard me talk about Altos before, and how they “won Hopscotch” for me last year. You can read the post from day one of Hopscotch 2012, in which I rave about how much Altos blew me away here. Anyway, after San Fermin kind of floored me with their two songs, I was upset that I didn’t prepare for that any better. Had I known what I know now, I would have ducked out of Spiritualized earlier and caught their whole set. Maybe they could have “won Hopscotch” for me. I’ll never know.
Alan Sparhawk of Low
hit the stage and just crushed their 75 minute slowcore set with effortless efficiency. I knew that they hadn’t played in this neck of the woods in a long time, and that I might not ever get another chance to see them. I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I honestly couldn’t remember whether I had ever had the privilege of seeing them before. I’ve seen hundreds of bands in my concert-going career, and there are quite a few who I’ve forgotten that I’ve seen. There’s also quite a few who I have never seen no matter how much I swear that I have. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that this was, in fact, the first time that I’d seen them.
They played a great mix of old and new songs, and a couple of up-tempo songs (uptempo for them, anyway) like “Monkey”, but for the most part, it was perfect slowcore bliss.
It was kind of an ideal way to wind down another excellent festival. Although there were still a few bands playing, I’d had enough, and really wanted it to end just like that.
Last year, I made the 80 minute drive home right after the last show on Saturday night. This year, I was a little smarter, and I kept my hotel for an extra night. So I got a good night’s rest before heading back into the real world on Sunday.
Still to come: a full post about the passing out incident, and a short post about mac-and-cheese.
At some point this week, I’ll get back into the business of writing about songs.