Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hopscotch '11 - Day Two Review

TOW3RS at The Hive were definitely a
highlight of the Day Party lineup.
Photo courtesy of The Bottom String

After the incredible first day, featuring obvious highlights Empress Hotel and Dinosaur Feathers, we awoke Friday with that festival feeling, the mixture of weariness and palpable excitement. After all, we had lined up a pretty big day and it was by no means disappointing.

Terry and I had been pretty excited about Shit Horse, so our first stop of the day was Odessa Fest at King's Barcade. Their set was all of the incredibly well-done, weird rock we'd come to expect and set the day off on the perfect note. While at Odessa Fest, we also caught Wesley Wolfe's vinyl cutting demonstration, which was definitely a pretty neat spectacle. The singles Wesley cut at the demonstration were later auctioned off.

From Odessa Fest, we headed to The Hive for Diggup Tape's Rooftop. We caught a stellar set from TOW3RS in what was only their second live performance and actually their first with that lineup. They stand-out as a highlight of the day, their preternatural skills in songwriting and musicianship set my expectations for the band high, and I wait with bated breath for their release.

After The Hive, we journeyed to Slim's, where we would spend the day until City Plaza roared to life that evening. It was $1 for a plastic cup and there were kegs out back, so that was an obvious plus. Between inside and out, there was plenty of awesome music to take in. We arrived just in time to catch the tail end of a raucous set from Last Year's Men and stayed put for Gross Ghost.  Gross Ghost powered through a fantastic set (despite some string-breakage) and cemented themselves in my mind as a band to keep track of. After Gross Ghost, we stepped out back and caught The Wigg Report, a sort of lo-fi punk trio (with saxophone!) that certainly keep the spirit alive in Durham. We ventured back indoors (and out of the heat) to catch a bit of Mt. Eerie's post-rocky goodness and ventured once more back outdoors to catch a bit of Beloved Binge. (We talked at length with the members of both The Wigg Report and Beloved Binge. They are super nice people, for the record.) After cutting out of Slim's, it was time for the festival day to begin in earnest.

The shows at City Plaza kicked off with a high-energy set from The Dodos, whom I'd only recently become acquainted with. After that set, it's obvious to understand why I'd heard so much about them and slightly more perplexing that I'd slept on them for so long. I can think of no better band to set the tone for the night of shows ahead. Immediately after The Dodos was Drive-By Truckers and while I can't say that I follow the band religiously, I do appreciate their musicianship and the dedication of their fans, watching City Plaza roar to life with all kinds of Truckers shirts was an impressive sight. (During the set, we grabbed a few slices at zpizza and let me just say that the pizza there ranks in my top 3 pizzas of all time.) Closing out the City Plaza shows was Guided By Voices final show of their reunion. They brought a ruckus, for sure, and watching these four gents rock so hard and so intently was definitely a sight to behold. While I have never followed Guided By Voices too closely, I can definitely understand why someone would love the lo-fi garagey psychedelia of the band.

That being said, we cut out of their set early and headed to White Collar Crime to catch Wesley Wolfe perform. I had been introduced to Wesley Wolfe by Terry some weeks ago and seeing the band perform live was a delight. White Collar Crime, too, was an excellent venue and was certainly a comfortable place to enjoy the bands. After Wesley Wolfe, we stayed put for Old Bricks and though I've heard them previously, seeing them live completely changed the Old Bricks game in my mind. The way the band somehow manages to combine intimacy with attitude is overwhelming in the best way possible.

After Old Bricks, we peregrinated to the Lincoln Theater to see the end of The Annuals. Though we didn't catch much of their set, maybe three or four songs, they definitely brought it and the crowd (myself included) was enthralled. While Terry and Grant stayed put for Twin Shadows, which they both agree was a highlight of the night, I made the unfortunate mistake of stepping outside at a capacity theater and was forced to go r┼Źnin. Consulting the schedule, I decided to mosey over to Fletcher to see Swans. I love Swans, don't get me wrong, but the noise interludes that combined rides on single chords and cacophonous, occasionally arhythmic, drumming was too much and it unfortunately ended the night on a sort of down note for me.

The clouds of Saturday loom low and close, promising a veritable tsunami of great acts, our schedule includes Ben Sollee, Birds of Avalon, Titus Andronicus and, of course, THE FLAMING LIPS. We'll see you around tomorrow, more than likely while being sprayed with confetti in City Plaza. Have a great day, and we'll see you here tomorrow night!

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