Summer doesn't technically end for a few more weeks, yet the Hopscotch Music Festival always feels like the herald of fall. By the time it arrives in early September, sweltering summer humidity has faded, yielding to crisper breezes and tail ends of tropical storms. The weather may be cooling off, but downtown Raleigh heats up once again as it welcomes thousands of local and out-of-town visitors to convene for three days to revel in day-long slates of music that cover almost every style you could want.
Now in its seventh year, Hopscotch is settled as a Triangle fixture, but it hasn't arrived without a few changes for 2016. Memorial Auditorium is back in the venue fold after a two-year absence, and the festival added the intimate Nash Hall and giant Red Hat Amphitheater as new spaces. This year's big throwdown also marks the final Hopscotch for Greg Lowenhagen, who cofounded it with former INDY music editor Grayson Haver Currin. Nathan Price, who's worked for the festival in some capacity since 2012, will take the reins on Hopscotch numbers eight to infinity after Lowenhagen steps down this week.
In the meantime, we look at how Hopscotch stays fresh as it continues to grow as a Raleigh institution. This weekend, you can find everything from rootsy rebels to hip-hop heroes, guitar guardians to otherworldly oddities. It's an opportunity to see some longtime favorites and discover wonderful new acts—and even better, you can find it all within the same six blocks.
A GIANT DOG
Thursday, 12:30 a.m., Slim's
A Giant Dog's Pile, released via Merge in March, might be one of the year's best rock records. It's a frenzied, fantastic LP that boasts tremendous hooks, explosive guitar riffs, howl-along harmonies, and plenty of shredding. "Sex & Drugs" and "& Rock & Roll" make for a killer doubleheader, but "Too Much Makeup" and "Sleep When Dead" are just as electrifying. A Giant Dog is a rock band to make you believe in rock bands again.
ANDERSON .PAAK & THE FREE NATIONALS
Friday, 7:15 p.m., City Plaza
Anderson .Paak's Malibu is a smooth, gorgeous record that finds the thirty-year-old pulling together jazz, funk, soul, and hip-hop into a magnificent new animal that's slick and sexy, but never awkward or corny. His set with The Free Nationals at the Art of Cool Festival at the Durham Armory in May was a fiery affair, and City Plaza should allow them to stretch out and settle into a groove that you ought not miss.
Friday, 9:30 p.m., Pour House
After a few quiet years following the 2012 release of its debut LP, Trephine, the Triangle's own MAKE has made a roaring comeback over the past eighteen months. Last summer, the metal trio issued The Golden Veil, and followed it up with Pilgrimage of Loathing in July. Both are excellent, super-heavy LPs that showcase the band's penchant for formidable yet engrossing slow-burn monoliths. MAKE will rattle your Friday night off to a good start.
Saturday, 9 p.m., Nash Hall
Even on the most pristine recordings, Daniel Bachman's guitar work has a rough-around-the-edges grit and ragged determination that rises through the Virginia native's swift acoustic picking. He bridges folk and experimental styles for a captivating sound that wheezes, jangles, floats, and whispers—all often within the same song. Bachman usually performs solo, but a few friends will join him at Nash Hall for what should be an intriguing new look at one of the South's best young musicians.
Deep South The Bar • White Street Brewing Co Presents JTama Band, Lacy Jags, Boy Legs, Grandchildren, Happy Abandon, Jon Lindsay
Devolve Moto: noo • Kristen Abigail Collective Presents Justin Lacy, Curtis Stith, Mic the Prophet, Kate Rhudy, Eric Paul, XOXOK Sponsored by Bunn DJ Company
Flag (17 E. Martin Street) • "In Spectrum" • A live performance at Flag (17 E. Martin St.) • Featuring movement / sound / light / objects •
by Reflex Arc (Ginger Wagg + Crowmeat Bob) / Lincoln Hancock (installation) / Jaclyn Bowie (mixed media)
Kings • Diggup Tapes, Kings, Friends Records Present Orientation in Space VII • Konvoi, Moss of Aura, No One Mind, Bond St. District, Celebration
Neptunes Parlour • Diggup Tapes, Kings, Friends Records Present Orientation in Space VII • Tantrum, Blacksage, Lush Agave, Gardener, Voter Frog
Pour House Music Hall • Primitive Ways Presents Downstairs: RBT, Abacus, Savagist, Unmaker, Bedowyn • Upstairs: Basura, Miniguns, Chateau, Squall
Ruby Deluxe • New Body Tapes Presents Actualia, Chula, Witchhand, Sponge Bath, Secret Boyfriend, Patrick Gallagher, ISS, Virgo, Drippy Inputs
Schoolkids Records • Porch Light Apothecary, Dragmatic, Hank Sinatra, Debonzo Brothers, Jack The Radio, The Connells
Slim's Downtown • Potluck Presents: 3rd Annual Hopscotch Rock n' Roll Pizza Party Magnolia Collective, Teardrop Canyon, Knurr & Spell, Beauty World,
See Gulls, Organos, The Second Wife, Schooner, Some Army, JPhono1 Sponsored by Lilly's Pizza and Ponysaurus Brewing • FREE Lilly's Pizza while it lasts!
Boxcar Arcade + Bar • Sore Thumb Series // Indie Rock // Day 1 Savannah Valentino, She Returns From War, Say Brother, Secret Guest, Fk Mt., Thayer Sarrano, Husband, MyBrother MySister, The Affectionates Sponsored by The Stereofly, Free-Times, 10 Foot Woody Records and Jam Room Studio Free Sore Thumb Vol. 1 Compilation CD featuring a song from each artist while they last
Crank Arm Brewing Company • Roost Frequency Recording Presents The Lemon Sparks, The Kneads, The Bleeding Hearts
Deep South the Bar • Ultra Psychic Mega Monolith TELEP▲THY Hopscotch Day Party @ Deep South the Bar. Kabak, Mhymes, Yyen, Away Msg, Trandle, Drozy & Friends
Kings • Three Lobed Records + WXDU Present Manas (Tashi Dorji & Thom Nguyen), Sarah Louise, Mary Lattimore & Kid Millions, 75 Dollar Bill, Bill Nace, Watery Love, 75 Dollar Bill, Bachman–Toth Duo, Sarah Louise, Meg Baird & Mary LattimoreFoundation • Merge Happy Hour
Neptunes Parlour • Party Illegal Presents: Hubble, BITCHCRAFT, DJ PlayPlay, NeatFreak, Queen Plz
Pour House • Mir's Empire and K97.5 Presents Cayenne, Cypher University, Lazarus, Nance, Shame, Mosca Flux, Ace Henderson, Well$, Deniro Farrar, DJ Wade Banner & DJ RNB Hosted by Mir.I.am
Raleigh Roadhouse • Kristen Abigail Collective Presents Eric Paul, Foxture, Castle Wild, Animalweapon, Hectorina, YOUMA Sponsored by Bunn DJ Company
Ruby Deluxe • Full of Spiders: Bad Grrrl and Egghunt Records Day Party Feral Conservatives, Headless Mantis, Manatree, Clair Morgan, Avers
Schoolkids Records • Nevernauts, Dick Richards, Second Husband, The Eyebrows, Happy Abandon
Slims Downtown • Churchkey & The Layabout present "¡Que Viva!" The Dry Heathens, KONVOI, Scanners, Truthers, The Nude Party, Drag Sounds, shirlette ammons Sponsored by Bull City Burger & Brewery and The Blotter
Crank Arm Brewing Company • Roost Frequency Recording Presents Oatmeal Conspiracy, Drling, Coytah
Boxcar Arcade + Bar • Sore Thumb Series // Hip-Hop // Day 2 DJ Set playing classic hip-hop, Preach Jacobs, H3R0, Grand Prize Winners From Last Year, Preach Jacobs DJ SetSponsored by The Stereofly, Free-Times, 10 Foot Woody Records and Jam Room Studio,
Berkeley Cafe • The 6th Annual Guitartown Hopscotch Day Party Sponsored by Brüeprint Brothers Grim (acoustic), Sara Bell, Melissa Swingle Duo, Texoma, J Chris Smith and Marc E. Smith, Mike June
Deep South the Bar • Cardigan Records Day Party Dogs Eyes, Greaver, Lazarus Wilde, Youth League, Pleasures, Professor Toon
Kings • Orange County Social Club & Third Uncle Records featuring Merge Records present: Sneaks, Honey Radar, Rock *A* Teens, Birds of Avalon
Neptunes Parlour • Orange County Social Club & Third Uncle Records featuring Merge Records present: Boogie Reverie, Shelles, Faults, Queen of Jeans
Person Street Bar • Zack Mexico, The Trousers, Grand Champeen, Benji Hughes Sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits and Raleigh Rum
Pour House Music Hall • Younger Brother Productions Presents Downstairs: Seabreeze Dinner, Echo Courts, Gray Young, No Eyes, Zack Mexico • Upstairs: Flash Car, The Summer Life, Vacant Company, Happy Abandon
Raleigh Roadhouse • Kristen Abigail Collective Presents Raid the Quarry, Sean Thomas Gerard, Dragmatic, Mike Blair & the Stonewalls, LAIRS, The Antique Hearts Sponsored by Bunn DJ Company
Ramble Supply Co • Kristen Abigail Collective Presents Jesse Stockton, Texoma, DRISKILL, Ellis Dyson & the Shambles, Catie King, Parallel Lives Sponsored by Bunn DJ Company
Ruby Deluxe • Pabst Showcase curated by Claire Ginn ZZ Corpse, Ouroborus Boys, DIP, The Nude Party, Dirty Fences, Nest EggSchoolkids Records • .He Who Walks Behind The Rows, Horseskull, Gross Reality, Toke, Wailin Storms
Slim's Downtown • Spazzscotch + Jack the Radio Present Other Colors, Maple Stave, Wild Fur, The Charming Youngsters, Jack the Radio, Ghostt Bllonde, The Backsliders, Wing Dam
Tactile Workshop (1001 S. Saunders St.) • Tactile Workshop x Good Times Assurance Co. Present: The Hopscotch Oasis DJ Nayfong, Brassious Monk, Just Archie, Pie Face Girls, Vacant Company
Trophy Brewing (656 Maywood Ave.) • 5th Annual Phuzz Day Party Shadowgraphs, Drag Sounds, Body Games, The Tills