Hopscotch has come and gone yet again. Every year in September Raleigh hosts a huge music festival called Hopscotch, aptly named because bands play at venues all around town and you have to run (hop) from venue to venue. The amount of bands you get to see in one weekend is unbelievable.
I never know all the bands that are playing, but that’s part of what makes Hopscotch so great. I always leave each Hopscotch with an entire list of artists that I want to buy albums from. New music is good music.
Here’s a list of bands I was able to see this weekend, including the free day shows around town, with brief descriptions and my favorites of the day in bold with photos.
Ought :: Canadian band with a good sound. They replaced Deerhunter in the lineup last minute. The lead singers voice sounded like it was straight out of a black and white old western film, as he spoke the words to their songs.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor :: We didn’t stay long for this band since we were running on to the next show, but a decent post rock sound.
Grandma Sparrow :: This band is in a realm all its own. I can’t really describe this show other than comedy routine/children’s show on drugs. Worth looking up on YouTube just to see what I’m talking about.
Wildhoney :: I like rock bands with female singers, and this one did not disappoint. It’s more of a indie rock with some edge. However, their sound guy had them entirely too loud and I was wishing I had ear plugs the entire time.
Dad&Dad :: The lead singer has a great voice and they have some really fun beats. Kind of a funk-punk mix that I totally dig.
Lizzo :: Oh Lizzo, the queen. She absolutely killed it and I’m so glad I saw her show. Female feminist rapper that has such a great sense of humor and radiates her love for what she does. Definitely buying her album.
Lizzo at Cam, photo by mrbarkey
Cashmere Cat :: My other favorite of the night. This DJ/Electronic Artist is genius and I could listen to his stuff for hours. He had the whole place going crazy.
Cashmere Cat at Cam, photo by mots_justes
Bully :: We caught the last song that they played and they were much harder than anything else we saw that night. Girl punk to the max.
Battles :: Super creative instrumental rock. The music was fantastic, again entirely too loud, and by this point in the night (1am) I was super tired and really just wanted to sleep. I still highly recommend giving them a listen though.
Museum Mouth :: One of my favorite local bands to see live. The lead singer is also the drummer (he has more energy than I ever could) and they are always entertaining.
Dad&Dad :: We saw their day show on this day. But read my previous description of them above.
Ghostt Bllonde :: I have a soft spot for this local band because they are all friends of mine AND I used to live with the drummer. All incredible musicians, proven by how well they handled some technically difficulties during this show.
Mamiffer :: A little too experimental for my taste. Kind of just ambient sounds that sometimes sound like songs. We didn’t stay long.
Tycho :: So so so good. Chill electronic that was just beautiful to listen to. They had some power issues a couple of times but they handled it in an awesome way and the crowd was rooting for them the whole time. Can’t wait to buy their album.
Tycho at City Center, photo by arcane93
TV on the Radio :: Super talented and a crowd pleaser. If I knew more of their new songs I probably would have enjoyed it even more.
SMLH :: Local band with some good friends. Mellow guys but pretty upbeat music.
Nots :: Not really my scene. Screaming girl grunge where they yell every word. Also we were kinda surprised, but most of the crowd was made up of middle aged men. I’m guessing they were all grunge fans in the late 80s, early 90s.
Moon Duo :: Pretty cool band with kind of experimental industrial electronic. We didn’t stay super long but I liked what I heard.
Mitski :: SO beautiful. Her voice is beyond perfection. It’s the kind of music that I want to sit and listen to and really listen to the words just to take it all in. Majorly inspired to write more music because of her.
Mitski at Tir Na Nog, photo by retronautilus
Father :: We caught the end of this rapper and the crowd was going nuts. Super fun energy.
Pusha T :: I knew Pusha T was gonna be packed, but the crowd was kind of the worst. Hannah and I both got hit in the head by drunk guys around us and kept getting shoved. Even though it was the worst crowd of the weekend, Pusha T was a lot of fun and is actually in more famous rap songs than I realized.
Pusha T at Lincoln Theater, photo by unfortunateface
Tuskha :: Obsessed with this duo. Chill Electronic with a super talented lead singer. This was their debut so they don’t have any music online yet but when they do, I’ll be one of the first to buy their album. (I wish I had a better photo of them but this was literally they only one from this show I could find.)
Tuskha at the Pour House, photo by jackee_h
Made of Oak :: The male half of Sylvan Esso, one of my favorite bands. It was more like a DJ set but I do love his beats.
Daniel Romano :: Sounds a lot like old timey country. Mike really liked him and wants to buy an album. It was a little too country for me but I can still appreciate talented musicians.
The Vibekillers :: We watched this band from where we sat and had dinner. Kind of country, again not really my scene, but good musicians.
American Aquarium :: We were still at dinner for this band and they had a very americana sound.
X :: Punk band from the 70’s and 80’s, so obviously kind of older. Nothing wrong with that, since they still rocked pretty hard. But no denying that they still sounded like the 80’s.
Dwight Yoakim :: Very country. We didn’t stay long, but the older crowd loved them.
Less Western :: Local band with friends again. I was really proud of them because they sounded great and had a decent crowd.
Boulevards :: Fun rapper, so we danced quite a bit. We didn’t stay long but he had a good groove.
River Whyless :: I might be bias because they are from Asheville, but I absolutely adore them. They are a fantastic folk band that does really cool and unique things with their instruments. Rightfully so, they sound like home to me.
River Whyless at Tir Na Nog, photo by arcane93
Cakes Da Killa :: The most flamboyant, fabulous rapper you will ever see. For being an openly gay man, he was one of the best, hardcore rappers we saw all weekend.
Cakes Da Killa, photo by andyboyle
Porches :: Kind of post rock but had a great, naturally talented lead singer. Reminds of Imagine Dragons, though I’m not sure why.
Flock of Dimes :: A super chill way to end hopscotch. She has a beautiful voice and I would love to hear her play again.
Whew! What a weekend. It’s exhausting just thinking back through it all. I’m not kidding when I saw these bands are worth a listen. I’m always completely humbled and amazed at the amount of local talent in this area. I’m also hugely inspired after this weekend. Maybe some day you’ll see me in the lineup.
What music festivals are your favorite to attend?