Month: September 2016

Hopscotch 2016

It’s (past) time once again for my annual Hopscotch Music Festival recap post (previous years’ posts, as always, tagged hopscotch). This year I saw 33 bands, drank 28 beers, and—according to my phone—walked 16 miles.

With the sad closing of Blount Street institution Tir Na Nog, the festival was down to only 10 venues this year, and it definitely felt smaller. This was the first year I’ve had trouble getting into more than one show I wanted to see because the lines were too long. Memorial Auditorium, last seen in 2013, rejoined the roster, and the black-box Kennedy Theater (also in the Duke Energy Center complex) was dropped; Busy Bee Cafe’s upstairs bar The Hive is now Mash & Lauter, and was no longer a Hopscotch venue; and Nash Hall, another new room and as it turns out the site of one of the best shows I saw this year, was added.

This year for the first time, they also had two headline stages (only on Friday): Gary Clark Jr. and Erykah Badu played at the Red Hat Amphitheater while The Dead Tongues, Anderson .paak and the Free Nationals, and Beach House played at City Plaza. I had planned to catch Clark, go back to City Plaza for .paak, then return to Red Hat for Badu, but due to a delay leaving Dallas, she didn’t arrive and start her set until something like an hour and a half late. I had a lot of other shows I wanted to see, so I didn’t wait around.

I also wasn’t able to get into Slim’s to see A Giant Dog on Thursday, or Sarah Shook & the Disarmers on Saturday, which was disappointing.

Bands I’ve seen before are italicized, and bands I’ve seen at Hopscotch before are also bolded. My favorite sets are marked with an asterisk.

Thursday

  • Day Parties

    • The Second Wife (Slim’s)
    • Schooner (Slim’s)
  • Main Stage

    • Wye Oak* (City Plaza)
  • Club Shows

    • The Hell No* (Slim’s)
    • Battle Trance (Nash Hall)
    • GROHG (Lincoln)
    • Mutoid Man* (Lincoln)
    • Television* (Memorial)
    • Lambchop (Fletcher)

Friday

  • Day Parties

    • Sarah Louise (Kings)
    • Lemon Sparks* (Crank Arm)
    • Nance (Pour House)
    • Scanners (Slim’s)
    • Shirlette Ammons (Slim’s)
    • See Gulls* (Commerce Place street fair)
    • Merge happy hour (Foundation)
  • Main Stage

    • Gary Clark Jr.* (Red Hat Amphitheater)
    • Anderson .paak* (City Plaza)
  • Club Shows

    • S.E. Ward (Nash Hall)
    • MAKE (Pour House)
    • Dai Burger (Lincoln)
    • Adia Victoria* (Nash Hall)
    • Julien Baker (Nash Hall)

Saturday

  • Day Parties

    • Sara Bell* (Berkeley Cafe)
    • Melissa Swingle Duo (Berkeley Cafe)
    • The Nude Party (Ruby Deluxe)
    • Zack Mexico (Pour House)
  • Main Stage

    • Vince Staples (City Plaza)
    • Sylvan Esso (City Plaza)
  • Club Shows

    • Bad Friends (Lincoln)
    • Eldritch Horror (Kings)
    • Eric Bachmann* (Memorial)
    • Andrew Bird* (Memorial)
    • Baroness* (Lincoln)

Wrap-Up

I hope that next year Hopscotch will be able to bring more venues (back?) into the fold, as having this few felt weird.

I saw Wye Oak my first time at Hopscotch, back in 2012, when they played in the final time slot, Saturday at half past midnight, at the Lincoln. I had only recently started getting into their music, but I got up close to the stage (unfortunately, the photos I took that year are lost to the mists of yfrog). They were transcendent, a huge highlight of the year, so I was thrilled to see them graduate to the main stage. The newer music from Shriek and Tween blends remarkably well with material from CivilianThe Knot, and If Children, in a live setting — Wasner and Stack’s multi-instrument virtuosity really shines.

That felt like a really special moment, to have seen them five years apart in such different settings at the same festival; but I don’t want my particular mention of Wye Oak to sound as though I’m dismissing the other bands. It was a very strong festival, as usual, and I can’t wait for next year.

Best acts I’ve seen before: Wye Oak, See Gulls, Eric Bachmann, Andrew Bird

Best acts I haven’t seen before: Mutoid Man, Gary Clark Jr., Adia Victoria, Sara Bell, Baroness

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Now it’s done.