New Raleigh and Friends Hopscotch 2012 Recommendations Part 1

New Raleigh and Friends Hopscotch 2012 Recommendations Part 1

September, 04, 2012, by Jedidiah

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Here we go. One of our most favorite weekends of the year in Downtown Raleigh starts early Thursday afternoon with a few day parties around the city and kicks into high gear on Thursday nights in clubs all across the downtown grid. We've asked some of our writers, local artists, business owners, musicians playing Hopscotch and owners of clubs to give us their weekend Hopscotch recommendations. We will post a handful today, Wednesday and Thursday. 

New Raleigh and Friends Recommendations Part 2

New Raleigh and Friends Recommendations Part 3 (coming soon....)

Khaner Walker - Writer,

I can only make the first day of Hopscotch this year – will be wearing my bracelet with pride and a bit of contempt during a wedding in Boone – however this has caused me to have laser-like focus on Thursday’s lineup.

Screaming Females is a band I’ve been dying to see live, and would like to applaud Hopscotch for reading my mind here. I’m sure they’ll thrive off the crowd’s energy at Lincoln, and fully expect a “Thank you God, Hopscotch & Lincoln Theatre” moment akin to last year’s Future Islands set there.

The Triangle has amazing hip-hop talent, and I’m looking forward to seeing Toon & The Real Laww at the Pour House, followed by Free Electric State at Kings.

Time and hoofing 5 blocks in between shows are my enemies at Hopscotch, and I always wind up hating myself for missing this act or the other. As a Ramsuer Records fanboy, I will be doing everything in my power to overcome both, and check out Samantha Crain at Deep South to close out the night.


Isaac Weeks - Writer,

Like many people who complained upon their first glance at the lineup for this year’s Hopscotch, I let out an audible, “Meh,” upon its release. There didn’t seem to be the relative big names, whether indie artists or major touring acts, that we were given during the first couple of years of the Festival’s existence.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to revisit the schedule, as a battle planning session of sorts, to map out the performances I would attempt to catch over the weekend. I don’t know why I was so pessimistic the first time I visited the site, because upon further review, there are more than a few blocks of time where Raleigh is going to have more awesome concerts being held at once than at any point in the city’s history.

On Thursday, you have Phil Cook & His Feet performing within spitting distance of Brooklyn psychedelic popsters Young Magic in different halls of the Progress Energy Center, all while former Squirrel Nut Zipper Tom Maxwell is starting the night off at Slim’s. When Cook and Young Magic leave their respective stages, Minnesota country-bluesman Charlie Parr will be fighting for an audience against local-by-way-of-England Charles Latham at Five Star and the ever popular Deerhoof performing a 90 minute set at Memorial Auditorium.

Friday brings us the first of the City Plaza shows, with The Jesus and Mary Chain headlining at 8:45. The schedule is absolutely packed with quality from 11:00 on, with Yo La Tengo; Zola Jesus; The Mountain Goats; and The db’s all competing for my attention. Hell, there are even more bands set for the same times as the ones I listed that any other time of the year would be considered “must attend” concerts, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

The closing night kicks off with Shirlette & the Dynamite Brothers, a local band that just played a set at Kings Barcade a week ago, taking the main stage at 5:45. To be fair, the schedule for Saturday night doesn’t excite me as much as the preceding two, but when you have Danny Brown rapping at the CAM, exciting Charleston duo Shovels & Rope hanging at Deep South, and Lambchop (always a contender to put on the show of the year) taking the stage at Memorial, all from 11:30 to 1:30am, that is a fine night of music.


Mike Dillon - Lead Singer of Gross Ghost and Motor Skills

Preface: If I have learned anything from Hopscotches of yore, it's that I cannot be in two places at once. Part of this is physics, part of this is laziness. So with some deliberation, here's my list.

Gross Ghost
(I have to see them by default of being in the band, but I hope they don't suck! After this I'm gonna take my sweet time and get food and drank in me.)
Liars (I genuinely have affection for all of their albums and I think the chance of seeing them in NC is rarer than Trash Talk and Thee Oh Sees. Still, if I could have seen all three I'd have given Hopscotch a higher rating on Yelp.)

Jenny Besetzt (I really like those two songs they've got floating around. I want to hear more. The Blurt/Schoolkids dayparty is the one I'm repping but I'm gonna caravan over to Churchkey and Trekky's parties too!)
Flesh Wounds (Finally...)
Hiss Golden Messenger 
Then, I'm gonna head back to the Blurt party. (Spider Bags are playing at the same time as us, but I'm gonna see them at Kings later in the month.)
The Jesus and Mary Chain (is Hope Sandoval gonna be there?)
Black Skies
Really torn between the obvious radness that is Yo La Tengo and trying something different like Zola Jesus AND Killer Mike. Will probably flip a coin. Or spin a wheel. 

Escort and The Roots (Duh!)
Work Clothes
Mac McCaughan VS No Bunny & Danny Brown (That'd be an interesting fight in real life.)
I'm excited that most of the bands that I want to see are local.

Heads on Sticks - Photo by Josh Bercovici

David Mueller - Lead singer of Heads on Sticks and bassist for Birds of Avalon

Heads on Sticks will be releasing a new EP, available on cassette, this week at Hopscotch. Preview it here.

Here's a recommended  itinerary- the problem is you're going to need to be several places at once. I suggest phasing between locations. Just make sure not to reincorporate in a coordinate already occupied by someone else or your organs will fuse and neither of you will enjoy the show very much

All the Plaza shows are good. Don't miss any of them. Or any day parties (see above).


Airstrip/Gross Ghost @ Berkeley 9:30/10 - Home team starts it off right by going for the throat, no dickering here. Airstrip is the heavier of the two- though you wouldn't call them metal- they're too light on their feet. Hella-hypnotic. Gross Ghost split the difference between cotton candy and steel wool.

Lilac Shadows @ Kings 9:30 - Just finished a remix for them that will be out sometime soonish. Dark and sweeping guitar driven jams with keyboard flourish and a brass knuckled rhythm section. Really excellent band swinging hard for the fences

Toon and the Real Laww @ Pour House 9:30 - Saw these guys at a day party last year and was lucky enough to do a show with them shortly after. Great MC's, great production, great live show

Savage Knights / Guardian Alien @ White Collar Crime 10/11- Savage Knights sound like a JB's record thats been left out in the sun; huffers delight. Gaurdian Alien imagine what it sounds like to plug a swarm of locusts into a full stack and slowly turn every knob everywhere all the way up

Julia Holter @ Longview 12am - her album Ekstasis is one of my recent favorites and if ingested through headphones may cause grass to grow on the brain.

Liars @ Memorial Aud 10pm - A continually engaging and evolving band, their most recent, WIXIW, is my favorite from them and one of my favorites for 2012 thus far.

Thee Oh Sees @ CAM 12:30am - Dip yourself in the river, they're here for converts


Left Outlet @ Deep South, 9pm - See if you can figure out just what the f*ck is happening here. Report back to me.

Heads on Sticks @ Lincoln Theatre 9:30 - duh.

Dope Body @ Five Star 10:30pm - Like stumbling into the wrong room in the basement of an abandoned building, their music covers the gap between What was that noise? and I think there's something in here

Zola Jesus @ Lincoln Theatre 11:30pm - Beyond goth, beyond synth, there is Zola Jesus and if this works like I hope it will her voice will blanket the room with neon gauze.

Corrosion of Conformity / Dan Deacon @ The Pour House 11:30/12:30 - because when is that ever going to happen again?

Valient Thorr @ Tir Na Nog 12am - Intergalactic chops, Herbie's boots.


Grohg - Berkley 8:30pm - Pretty sure they're going to be tearing new ones over there so start your saturday night off right and go get one.

The Toddlers / Amen Dunes @ The Hive 9/10pm -  Saw The Toddlers rip it last night and they seemed darker to me than anyone is willing to admit. They have a sort of Old Weird America vibe that's more short wave than AM/FM. Kinda Gun Club, or maybe gun owner. Not in the political sense, but musically, they are definitely packing (or maybe just a straight razor but anyways watch out). I've also recently seen them described as hirsute. Can someone please tell me what that means?  I'm a big fan of Amen Dunes' Through Donkey Jaw LP. It's spiral. Haven't seen them live but I think it's worth the risk.

Jane Jane Pollock / Colin Stetson @ The Pour House 10:30/11:30pm -  Jane Jane Pollock is one of my favorite new bands. Sort of like a bauble in a skeletons hand. Go see them, buy their album. Colin Stetson is the real saxophone colossus- go see him and you'll know why. Superhuman.

Birds of Avalon @ Tir Na Nog 11pm - double duh.

Oneida - @ TIR NA NOG 12am - Really good people making even better music. A force of nature. Can't wait to hear their new album. If we're lucky they'll do Sheets of Easter and call the whole weekend a wrap.

Balam Acab @ Kings 12:30am - I Love Balam Acab's Wander/ Wonder LP. Don't know what this will be like live because I have no idea how he made any of the sounds on it. Looking forward to finding out.

Whatever Brains @ Slims 12:30am -  Ugh. Really? Are these guys still at it? Really?? But anyways you have to go or no chicks will talk to you at the after party.

Julia Holter

Mark Connor - bassist for Grohg, Manager of Slim's, owner of The Cave

I've got a couple different paths I could take on Thursday, depending on my mood.  Let's say I'm so pumped up about the festival starting that all I want is to bob my head and smile the whole night - I could start with Toon & The Real Laww (Pour House, 9:30), followed by Say Brother (Slim's, 10:30), turn it up a notch with Screaming Females (Lincoln, 11:30) and then turn those head-bobs into fist-pumps with J. Roddy Walston and The Business (12, Tir na nOg) and finally Roman Candle (12:30, Slim's).  If you can't keep a smile on your face through those 5 sets, check your pulse.

But I also might want to indulge my new found love for experimental music and get my pop-rock kicks (my first love after all).  In that case, I'll get started with Durham's Lilac Shadows (Kings, 9:30), who will fit enough melody into their set to last me the whole night.  After that I'll see just how quiet Tomas Phillips and Craig Hilton can get (10, Hive), get mellow and dreamy with Boy Friend (11, Berkeley), bring my night back toward pop with Julia Holter's (12, Long View Center) excellent blend of these two genres and end my night with Thee Oh Sees (CAM, 12:30) who are one of my absolute can't miss bands of this year's fest.

Friday night is packed with killer sets as well.  I'd like to start out at Five Star with The Bronzed Chorus (9:30), who will blow that space up, see the wonderful pop of Big Troubles (10, Berkeley), catch parts of each Pop. 1280 (Slim's) and Zola Jesus (Lincoln) in the 11:30 slot (I'm guessing that Pop.1280's set will be shorter), head to see the dB's at Long View (12) because I'd watch Brett Harris (keys, guitar, percussion, backing vocals) play/sing anything - he's possibly the most underrated musician in NC - and finish with Dan Deacon (12:30, Pour House).

Friday night also gives you a chance to stay in one room and get more than your money's worth.  Starting at 8:30 with MAKE, you could just hang at Kings and see a lineup that should make most Metal festivals blush as they are followed by Vattnet Viskar, Black Tusk, The Atlas Moth and Altar of Plagues.  If you need to make a couple dollars quickly, just stand outside of this show and sell earplugs.

The final night of the festival has too much to offer, too.  NOBUNNY (10:30, CAM) shouldn't be missed, but see at least a little bit of Jane Jane Pollock (10:30, Pour House), too - those two takes on how to update pop songwriting might make your head spin in the best possible way.  At 11, get to Long View to see Fargo, North Dakota's Secret Cities.  Shovels and Rope (12, Deep South) feature the amazing songwriting of husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst who out do each other with each chorus.  Finally, Wye Oak (12:30, Lincoln) will leave your mind blown as you watch drummer/keyboardist/vocalist Andy Stack amaze you and combine with vocalist/guitarist Jenn Wanser to move more sound than any duo should be able to.

Also worth noting for Saturday:  you could see Birds of Avalon (11, Tir na nOg), Whatever Brains (12:30, Slim's) and Sunn O))) (12:30, Memorial).  That combination of bands is mind-numbing.  You won't see a combination like that at any other festival or probably ever again at this one.  What these 3 bands will do with intracate layering and an understanding of how to use dissonance and consonance will be truly amazing to see back to back and belly to belly.

Bradley Cook - Guitarist and Singer, Megafaun


I have to see Jon Mueller's new project, Death Blues. He has been working on this one for quite some time and there are few dudes I am more permanently curious about. After that, I am firmly camped out at Fletcher Opera House. Charlie Parr is a national treasure. I've said it before and I'll continue saying it. It will serve as the perfect counterpoint to the 30 piece performance of Matt White's new record. Matt is an old friend and this will be the first time seeing this music performed as it was intended. If I can swing it, I'll try to hit last call at Slim's for Roman Candle. Love me some Mathenys!


I will certainly be watching all three bands at City Plaza. Thoroughly enjoy all of them and look forward to the open air atmosphere. From there I will be checking out the first few songs of Nests. Haven't had a chance to see them yet, but I have heard great things. After that, I would STRONGLY advise either Field Report at Longview Center or Hiss Golden Messenger as a 7 piece band. (Full disclosure:I am performing with Hiss Golden Messenger alongside William Tyler and my brother, Phil. Either way, this is one of my favorite records of the last year and I would be there as a fan). I will be closing out the night with some Yo La Tengo, one of my all time favorite bands and Damien Jurado, who made one of my other favorite records of last year.


We are partnering up with Videri Chocolate Factory and AC Restaurants for a killer fun day party in front of Mecca. This will be very fun. From there I'll be pretty tied up at Longview center for our performance with Arnold Dreyblatt, but if I was out and about I'd definitely see some combination of drone mogul, Oren Ambarchi, Colin Stetson and Lambchop. However, I am pretty sure you can't lose on any of Saturday's headliners. From the incredible party of NO BS! Brass Band to the brain erase of Sunn O))) to the beautiful music of either Lambchop or Wye Oak to the quirky playfulness of Arnold Dreyblatt's compositions, there is no way to go wrong. Overall excellent programming again.

Hoopscotch 2011

George Hage, Jack the Radio / OId Quarter

It's almost hard to believe the third year of the Hopscotch Music Festival is already here.  It's been incredible to see how downtown Raleigh has grown and how Hopscotch has adapted to the growth by adding new venues, more bands and more daytime events.

I'm most excited about seeing the streets packed with music lovers and bar hoppers from around the region enjoying the city and the hard work local businesses, artists, designers, chefs, etc have put into making downtown and the festival experience that much more special.

For the Music/Art collector, POSTERscotch at Amplified Art in City plaza will kick things off Wednesday night with a medley of concert-poster artists from the region.  I'm humbled to be included with this years talent.  Thursday I'll head over to the Hive (above busy) for a Jack Daniel's fueled day party to listen and play with some great NC acts.  Friday, back out during the day for the 2nd annual HOOPscotch charity bball game, BBQ, and live music next to CAM.  If I have time I hope to catch Hacienda playing Slims' Friday day party.   All the venues will be hoppin' and I can't wait to enjoy some food from Capital Club 16 and enjoy the downtown vibes.  I'll be back out bright and early Saturday for SPAZZscotch featuring 5 east coast bands.  There are some truly amazing day time events this year and they are all free! Tops.

Hometapes Friend Island

David Menestres - Co-Owner of Crumb

Hopscotch recommendations, or if you want to stalk me for a few days in early September, this is where I will be:

Thursday: Jon Mueller's Death Blues. I have heard lots of amazing music released this year but Death Blues is the only one that has permanently rewired my brain. There is before Death Blues, and there is after. If a recording can destroy my world, I wonder what a live performance can do. The Altos (who released my favorite album I didn't hear last year and are backing Jon for Death Blues) are next at Lincoln Theater. Go see the Matthew E. White madness at Fletcher. Matt's set with Fight the Big Bull last year was so good, I couldn't see any more music afterwards, I walked home. Alternative shows: Alvarius B. at The Hive and everything at Long View Center: Chris Forsyth/Koen Holtkamp, Chuck Johnson, Bill Orcutt, Julia Holter. Hoping to catch the end of Julia Holter after Matt White.

Friday: The 3lobed/WXDU day party at Kings is the beginning of a day full of great music. Show up at noon, don't plan on leaving till 5 unless you go downstairs to Neptunes for the Thrill Jockey party or come down to see us at Hometapes Friend Island III at Long View Center (full disclosure, we're sponsors of Friend Island).

Friday night: Chris Corsano, Glenn Jones, Hiss Golden Messenger, The Mountain Goats, Dan Deacon, White Hills, Kenny Roby. Somewhere in there you'll be able to find me.

Saturday: You're on your own for the day parties (or read someone else's recommendation). Saturday night, I will more than likely be celebrating at the Kevin Drumm/Oren Ambarchi/ Sunn O))) triple threat at Memorial. Starting with Hubble at Fletcher next door. Also highly recommended: Colin Stetson and No BS! Brass Band at The Pour House, Arnold Dreyblatt at Long View, Onieda at TNN, and Carlos Giffoni at Five Star.

Aly Khalifa - Owner of Gamil Design and Head of Designbox

Kickin' it old school:

Corrosion of Conformity, Bio Ritmo, and Shark Quest

Longview Center - one of Hopscotch 2012's new venues

Jenny Bonchak - Owner, Slingshot Coffee

The approach to this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival isn’t much different than the previous two years – grab a box of tissues because there will be tears when you inevitably have to let go of something.

There will be opportunities to see some of the festival’s stellar lineup at this year’s awesome day parties. A few we’re excited for are the Blurt! Magazine/Schoolkids Records day parties at Deep South on Friday and Saturday, and the Hometapes Friend Island party at Longview Center on Friday. The moderated discussions are always interesting and well worth attending, as well. Here, too, are Slingshot Coffee Co.’s music recommendations for Hopscotch 2012:


We could say just stay put at Fletcher Opera House all night and you’d be fine. There you’ll catch Phil Cook & His Feat, Charlie Parr and Matthew E. White, which are all sure to impress.  But a few others to consider squeezing into your schedule would be Boy Friend, Holograms, Thee Oh Sees, Hacienda, Sinful Savage Tigers and Roman Candle.


I want to see all the bands. Papa M, Damien Jurado, The Mountain Goats, Black Skies, Field Report, Azure Ray, Kenny Roby, Yo La Tengo and Dan Deacon. And don’t miss Zammuto, Built to Spill and The Jesus and Mary Chain, ok?


You’ve got yourself a nice little night of music with Nobunny, Hubble, Lampchop, Class Actress, Wye Oak, Arnold Dreyblat with Megafaun, The Toddlers and Oneida. Of course you are obligated to see The Roots, Escort and Shirlette & the Dynamite Brothers.

Dan Grinder - Bassist, Gray Young

Between the start of football and the return of Hopscotch, early September is better than Christmas in almost everyway. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the festival from both the performer and attendee roles and have witnessed firsthand the amazing performances that have made me realize how lucky I am to have this festival in my city. This year, I expect the same experience.

First and foremost, there’s no way I’m going to miss Wye Oak. Jenn Wasner has the voice of an angel, if that angel just so happened to live in Baltimore and front a killer band. Their last album, Civilian was one of my favorite records from last year. Also on my list: Liars, J. Roddy Walston and The Business, Yo La Tengo, the two sets by the Mountain Goats, Shovels and Rope, Lambchop, and Danny Brown. As for the City Plaza shows, I continue to believe that Built to Spill is the main reason we let Idaho remain a state.

One of the unique things about Hopscotch is the opportunity to watch great local talent take the stage next to the more established national acts. This year’s crop is incredible, with bands like Work Clothes, the Bronzed Chorus, Airstrip, Gross Ghost, GROHG, Some Army, and J Kutchma and the 5 Fifths all on my must see list. Couple the strong local showing with the even more numerous Hopscotch Day Parties, and you really get the chance to experience what the local music scene is all about.

Truly, the only part I hate about Hopscotch is that it’s impossible to see every band.

Megafaun - photo by Sara Padgett

Jake Seaton - Producer, NBC-17 and Music.MyNC

For the past three Augusts, as the massive, three-day music festival looms, I've diligently poured over schedules and playlists to best map out my Hopscotch experience.
Every year thus far, those plans have meant nothing as that September day arrived.

Most notably, on the third night last year, I set aside ambitious plans to see Titus Andronicus, Future Islands, Bombadil, All Tiny Creatures and Shit Horse for a much more subdued evening of sitting comfortably though Lost In the Trees and Bombadil at Fletcher.

To say the least, I was pleased with my decision -- especially after the two previous breathless nights of racing around downtown Raleigh.

Unfortunately, in Hopscotch's third year, I'm going into the festival already drained. The Republican National Convention was last week, and the Democratic National Convention ends the very day Hopscotch begins.

Because of this, I plan to again take the mellow route when going on my Hopscotch journey.

Night one will see me rushing from the office at the conclusion of President Obama's acceptance speech so that I can catch the tail-end of Charlie Parr at Fletcher and the entirety of what should be one of the highlights of Hopscotch, Matthew E. White. And if time and lines permit, it's over to Kings for Pictureplane.

For night two, the DNC will be over so the City Plaza lineup is in the cards, followed by another night at Fletcher -- The Weather Station, Hiss Golden Messenger and The Mountain Goats (holy hell!).

Night three is the one I'm most concerned about.

The hot ticket of the evening is Arnold Dreyblatt and Megafaun, and I fear Longview with fill up quick. Yet, The Roots were basically my introduction to hip-hop outside Public Enemy, and I've never had the opportunity to catch them live. So leaving that show early to camp out at Longview is out of the question.

So, after City Plaza clears out, it's on to Longview, where I'll hopefully secure a seat for the remainder of the evening. If I'm lucky, on my way back home, I'll be able to stop into Fletcher to catch a few festival-ending tunes from Lambchop.

And then, sleep.

Thee Oh Sees

Lincoln Hancock - Artist | Designer | Musician (Heads on Sticks)

More than any particular show or moment, I’m looking forward to the sustained experience of the festival. Hopscotch has a little bit of magic in it. It deepens and shifts our relationship with this place. This is partially a factor of it still being pretty new to us, but it’s also the kind of festival Hopscotch is. It’s scaled just right for Raleigh. Gracefully avoiding the overblown, overboring goop that clogs most other indie-oriented festivals,  Hopscotch relies on packing quality music into every viable corner of every decent space downtown, almost every decent minute of the weekend. The official lineup is curated exceptionally well, without being too fussy. The word “curated” gets thrown around a bit, but the music that’s on the program here is super-varied and almost always worthwhile — the lineup has a distinct flavor and I think that makes it stand out.

Raleigh’s always seemed mostly content to do and be its own thing, but with Hopscotch, it’s almost like the whole independent music community decided at once to step forward into an embrace of what we’re becoming. It represents a tremendous leap for a city and region that’s been in many ways cordoned off national/international cultural conversations. And it’s home-grown, made by people who know Raleigh, putting their trust in Raleigh. And Raleigh, in good faith, giving it back. 

[As for band recommendations, I’m excited I’m finally gonna get to see Wye Oak. Jesus and Mary Chain. And Heads on Sticks, right? Psyched for Thursday night at the Long View Center — Chuck Johnson, Bill Orcutt and Julia Holter in a great room; wanna see Thee Oh Sees at CAM, framed by the rad Hopscotch 'Exploded Hipster' mural I’ve been working on with Neill Prewitt, Mollie Earls, Robin Vuchnich and Ellie Blake; also hope to catch Odonis Odonis, Hubble, Pallbearer, Cheater Slicks, and some killer bands I’m totally not anticipating.)

Jacaszek - Photo by Kasper Glanz

Abby Nardo - Psychologist, Photographer, Gig Goer

There are so many ways to approach this overwhelming schedule. Here are a few approaches you might not know about:

• If you happen to be someone who uses Last.FM to “scrobble” your music, then you have an easy option. Log in to the site, and head to the Hopscotch events page. Using their statistical magic, Last.FM recommends a lineup matched to your musical preferences.

• Listening to every band is tedious, but it’s the easiest way to know what you’ll like. There are three online listening options I know of: (1) On each artist page of the official Hopscotch site, you’ll find a few tracks. (2) Jed Gant has made a Spotify playlist that is well publicized on this New Raleigh site. This is a comprehensive playlist with about 3,500 tracks (and counting!). (3) I made a shorter playlist on a site called Songza. Search for the Hopscotchfest 2012 playlist. This site plays random tracks, but it’s a good way to get through more acts. I tried to pick more popular songs for as many artists as were available. You can play this online or on a smart phone.

My friends Ross Grady and Ash Crowe have helped me to create a comprehensive Google calendar of all Hopscotch events. We have included day shows broken down by set times (to the best of our ability) as well as all of the official Hopscotch shows. This is a calendar that can be added to any smart phone. I recommend copying events you are interested in to your personal calendar so you aren’t too overwhelmed! The calendar can be found here:

I imagine most of the other folks writing these blurbs will be sharing artists you should see. I’ll only mention a few, since your taste and mine might be different, and I see a lot of ways Hopscotch is going to be great in different ways for different people. I’m most excited about the shows that seem more unpredictable and unique. The sort of “what the hell is THIS going to be?” shows:

Jon Mueller’s Death Blues. Jon Mueller is an experimental percussionist who played two sets at Hopscotch in 2010. He did one set with Collection of Colonies of Bees (which I saw) and another solo set. People have been talking about how amazing that solo set was ever since. Apparently, it was intensely mindblowing and visually hypnotic.

Matthew E. White: One Incantation Under God. I’ve seen Matt White play two times, once in Durham as part of a pretty amazing collective performance of Alan Lomax’s Songs of the South with Megafaun, Fight the Big Bull, Sharon Van Etten, and Justin Vernon. He was the über-charismatic one (and with that group, that’s quite a feat). At last year’s Hopscotch, Matt played a feel-good solo set during the Hometapes’ Friends Island Day Party at Tir Na Nog. This show Thursday at Fletcher is a collaboration Matt is doing with about 30-40 of his closest friends. I don’t know much about what he has planned for this, but I know he’s got a lot of amazing friends, and they are wildly talented. I feel like I’m probably going to see something pretty special. Wow me, Matt!

Hiss Golden Messenger. Another band I’ve never seen, but people seem to go crazy for them...  “The album is good and all, but you HAVE to see them live!”

Jacaszek. We’re in the new music area with this guy. He’s from Poland, and while doing all my listening to prepare for Hopscotch, this one really tickled my trained musical ears. I felt like I was back at music school hearing something smart and articulate. He mixes traditional instrumentation with clever electronics. This year, my choice is to spruce up all the rock and roll with some smart, more cerebral choices. Not that this isn’t beautiful and moving. It is. I’m excited.

Arnold Dreyblatt & Megafaun. No idea what to expect from this pairing. Arnold Dreyblatt is an American composer living in Berlin. As you probably know, Megafaun is, depending on what you listen to and how you’re feeling, a Triangle-based Southern rock band... or a Freak Folk band... or a field-recording loving experimental band. What I do know is that our boys Phil, Brad, Joe, and now Nick are amazing collaborators. They play well with others. In short, I know that whatever this Megafaun/Dreyblatt thing is, I want to be there to see it happen.

One more word about day shows. Take a look at that schedule I posted. The day parties run deep this year. Wooden Wand is playing during the day. We get a solo set from Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak (playing as Flock of Dimes). Solo set from Nick Sanborn of Megafaun and Brian Corum of Lonnie Walker, too. At 3pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, look at the panels at the Raleigh City Museum. Lots of artists you love talking about music. Take some time. Look at what’s being offered, because the whole wide world is coming to your town!

One last tip: If you live in Durham, check out The Bridge Bus which launches this week for Hopscotch. Leave the car at home.

And that is Part 1. Stay tuned for New Raleigh and Friends Hopscotch Recommendations Part 2 on Wednesday and possibly even Part 3 on Thursday.

New Raleigh and Friends Recommendations Part 2

New Raleigh and Friends Recommendations Part 3

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