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.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hopscotch '11 - Day One Review

The Love Language played a stellar set at the
Lincoln Theater last night.
I began my endeavor into Hopscotch's first day with high hopes. As I've previously mentioned, the sheer atmosphere of downtown Raleigh during the festival is electrifying. The Myxem staff spent most of the day exploring the downtown area, learning the lay of the land and such. We unfortunately did not get settled in time to attend a day party but were instead indulging ourselves in local cuisine (check out Kyle's review of Beasley's Chicken + Honey, which was stellar) and making a stop into Shopscotch, a "pop-up store" forged by online merch retailer Kung Fu Nation and a handful of local artists to sell their wares to the public. The selection of vinyl records in Shopscotch is definitely worth a look; I'll be going back tomorrow with cash in hand. In addition to new releases, reasonably priced t-shirts, and other assorted swag, the selection boasted a variety of rare and out-of-print records that any collector would drool over. If you have the time, I highly advise taking a second to stop in and see what's for sale.

The Myxem staff began our night at King's Barcade for Brooklyn-based quartet Dinosaur Feathers. In my personal opinion, there could have been no better way to kick off the festivities. The venue was packed to the gills, but the band was sure to bring enough energy to go around. Their infectious breed of intelligent pop-rock kept the crowd moving, and their performance was absolutely flawless. I left King's exhausted from the dancing that I couldn't help but partake in and filled with even higher hopes for what my night would have in store.

Hopscotch '11 - In Brief - Day One

We got a late start today. We had planned to be at the Big Boss day party held at Sadlack's Heroes, but as the rumor spread that it'd been closed down due to a noise complaint we decided to sit tight and catch up with a few episodes of Friends. Which was by no stretch of the imagination a waste of time.

By the time we had made it downtown, it was with just enough spare time to be one of the first through the door for Dinosaur Feathers. These boys took King's Barcade through the roof. I cannot possibly think of a better opener for King's incredible line up, and I hazard to say it'd be difficult to name a band I'd rather have seen as my first band of Hopscotch 2011.

We made a mistake and left King's, as they were counting people as they exited and letting the same number of people in, it seemed re-entry was unlikely. We lamented our bad luck, but forged on to Cassis Orange down at The Union (which is kind of a haul from King's). The two and half songs we caught were amazing. There were some technical issues with a sample going awry and it was pretty difficult to see, as The Union does not have a stage.

Hopscotch '11 - Spotify Playlist

For those of you attending Hopscotch 2011 and wondering which bands will be most worth your time or those of you unfamiliar with the roster, check out this Spotify playlist. This is what I've been listening to in preparation for this year's festival, and it's a good portrait of the array of acts that will be rocking Raleigh this weekend. Click the banner above to hear the Spotify playlist.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hopscotch '11 - Smells Like Team Spirit

Raleigh City Plaza, 2010. Photo by Ladye JaneVickers.
2011 will mark my first immersion in the full Hopscotch Music Festival experience. Last year, I was only in town for the last day to see Public Enemy and No Age in City Plaza and attend a fantastic day party for Trekky Records beforehand. Then and there, I swore that nothing would prevent me from enjoying everything the festival's second year would have to offer. And now, here I sit, with a blue wristband on my right arm and an itinerary that's constantly being rewritten.

What won me over so powerfully this time last year was the strange feeling that seemed to dominate downtown Raleigh on that Saturday evening. It was an atmosphere so overwhelmingly infectious that just by walking down the street, you feel included in something bigger than yourself: a horde of enthusiastic spectators, all here because they're excited about independent music. More than that, the event seems like a tribute to Raleigh itself; the fact that a city's community can have the ardent passion required to pull off something of this magnitude speaks volumes about its character.

Hopscotch '11 - Eats - Beasley's Chicken + Honey

Beasley's Chicken + Honey is located at 237 S Wilmington St.
Image from New
If you're wandering around downtown, or even if you've recently been displaced by the unfortunate incident at Sadlack's Heroes (apparently closed after a noise complaint), fear not: right down the road is a great place to weather the storm and get your hands on some fresh brewed tea and some out of this world fried chicken.

This is, hands down, the best fried chicken I've had. Now, I don't consider myself a connoisseur exactly, but I am certainly no stranger to dipping poultry in breading and hot oil. My surprise came as Beasley's Chicken + Honey managed to take that simple concept, douse it with class and upgrade the whole concept to something purposeful and tasteful, a nearly gourmet experience. From the dijon-honey sauce to the amazing (and obviously handmade) biscuits, the chefs combine attention to detail with that feel good down home style and serve it in generous portions. Even the tea is purchased by 1/2qt in re-purposed mason jars.