Hopscotch, Night Two: Making the Most of Daytime Substitutions and Nighttime Exhaustion | Music
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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Hopscotch, Night Two: Making the Most of Daytime Substitutions and Nighttime Exhaustion

Posted by on Sat, Sep 8, 2018 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge Mipso at City Plaza - PHOTO BY CAITLIN PENNA
  • Photo by Caitlin Penna
  • Mipso at City Plaza
Hopscotch Music Festival: Red Fang, Mipso, The Revolution
Downtown Raleigh
Friday, September 7, 2018


No matter how much you plan in advance, Hopscotch always seems to have knack for throwing a few curveballs your way, whether with a last-minute substitution or delay or just an unexpectedly great performance.

Considering I had built my Friday day party itinerary around seeing Moses Sumney at Ruby Deluxe until he fell off the bill twenty-four hours before, Mountain Man’s set—announced at roughly the same time—qualified as both. It was the first performance in six years by the captivating and charming trio of Molly Sarlé, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Meath, who occasionally used a bit of acoustic guitar but largely let their beautiful voices shine in a cappella arrangements. They brought the sparkle dungeon to pin-drop silence, which was particularly impressive given that the underground bar often felt like a chatty family reunion throughout the day.

After Spider Bags closed down the ¡Que Viva! day party at Slim’s in reliably rowdy and raucous fashion—especially given Reese McHenry’s surprise guest spots on vocals—I headed to City Plaza, where a short but steady rain shower oddly felt like the perfect accompaniment for a mellow stretch of Mipso’s modern string band music. Admittedly, the group’s stellar harmonies were somewhat obscured for me, given that I had dipped into a vendor’s tent for a free haircut when the precipitation picked up, but after Chicago native who gave me a trim predicted that he could see Hopscotch “getting pretty big,” I used the opportunity to explain that Hopscotch—from its corporate-sponsored grooming to its opportunities to see locals play its biggest spaces—already seemed like a pretty big deal for downtown Raleigh, especially for those that were around a decade ago.

Where else, too, would you be able to witness the puzzled reactions of the ushers at Fletcher Opera Theater during Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s spectacle of shredding and shrieks, which wildly careened between metallic hard rock and psychedelic trips? Like me, they had been pleasantly lulled by Waxahatchee’s gentle tunes the night before, so the shift must have been jarring indeed.

Speaking of gentle and pleasant, a brief detour to catch a bit of Julie Byrne at Nash Hall seemed like a perfect opportunity to rest and rally after Charnel Ground’s noisy, instrumental rock experimentation erupted in Kings. But enchanting as she was, particularly with her fingerpicked guitar accompanied by harp and synthesizer, I couldn’t shake that low-key vibe even after arriving to the convention center and finding The Basement in full-on dance party mode thanks to The Revolution. Though it was one of my most anticipated sets, I caught just a few funky singles like “I Would Die 4 U” and “Mountains” before realizing I was running on fumes as I neared my thirteenth hour of music.

Over at Lincoln Theatre, I found Red Fang ruling the stage with enough energy that required little of my own beyond some involuntary head nods to the insistent “Wires” and other monolithic bangers. Though I often found myself perched in the back of the venue, where I still felt my seemingly lifeless body being pulverized by brawny riffs, a healthy dose of stoner metal was apparently just what was necessary to carry me a few blocks down Blount Street for the final few songs of Swearin’ and a refill on pancakes from The Pour House’s upstairs bar. Hey, maybe in Chicago you can simultaneously gorge on a late-night breakfast and fuzzy garage rock after a day-long smorgasbord of music, but I’m glad I can do it without leaving Raleigh.

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