The first day of Hopscotch was an awesome start to the weekend. We got into Raleigh on Thursday and immediately scoped out the Posterscotch setup at Amplified Art. Our good friend Sarah from Poster Hound Family Workshop, based here in Wilmington, won this year's Posterscotch competition so you know we had to show support. Afterward we hit up the VIP party. That was pretty awkward we didn't really know anyone there, except for Tripp Gobble of Denmark Records, who played giant jenga with us after a rousing bout of miniature plastic swordfighting. It was after this that we finally started hitting up some shows, so stick with us after the jump to catch some rad photos via Audrey and some brief nonsensical words about the shows.
We first hit up Kings Barcade where we got to see Dinosaur Feathers. I'd already caught them once last year in Philly and really enjoyed it. The sound at Kings wasn't too great, but that seems to almost work to Dinosaur Feathers advantage as they still pull off incredible harmonies with ease over their bubbly brand of folk. It was definitely a treat.
After that we headed to Lincoln Theatre to catch Last Year's Men (for the first of three shows in less than 24-hours that we would catch them at). They're one of my favorite bands out there right now. Even when trashed they put on a great show, but more on that later. This was easily the best performance I've seen from the band and that's due in part to the incredible sound system at Lincoln Theatre. After Last Year's Men was Spider Bags. A few songs into their set Audrey and I decided to head out.
I don't really remember how, but we got separated and Audrey ended up catching XRay Eyeballs at Slim's and then Xiu Xiu at White Collar Crime. Both are shows I wish I had been able to catch, so I'm glad she was able to get some photos. At the same time I caught Dustin Wong's set at the Hive. He put on a tremendous performance, marking him as one of my favorite shows of the whole weekend. His work with a guitar and pedals is just mindblowing. He has the extraordinary the ability to create such bizarre sounds and then layer them until you're floating in an ethereal bliss. It was certainly a highlight.
After Dustin's set came my greatest dilemna of the night. Weekend, Woodsman and Reading Rainbow were all playing different venues at the same time. Fortunately I've seen all three bands before Hopscotch, so I didn't have to worry about missing something I hadn't seen. I ended up catching the first few tracks of Weekend's set at Pour House before catching back up with Audrey at Kings Barcade once more for Woodsman. Both bands are incredible live, each filling the room with a very different but still furious energy. Woodsman's two drummers sync so perfectly with the layers of guitars and effected vocals.
After Woodsman was Black Lips back at Lincoln Theatre. When we got to the venue we ran into Eric and Sarah (Poster Hound/Gravity Records family) as well as a few other Wilmington pals. One of these lovely folks had some pretty awesome weed and was fortunately willing to share. It was at this point that I lost my tote bag I'd been carrying with a ton of crackers and my phone charger amongst other things, though I wasn't too bummed about it. See what weed does to you kids? It makes you forget shit, but it also makes you ok with that. Anyway, Black Lips really brought it, as I'm told they usually do. Beer was slung on the crowd and by the end some jealous boyfriend had tossed a trashcan, leaving shattered bottles all over the floor. I still can't confirm if that was part of the show or not.
For many the first day of Hopscotch came to an end here. For Audrey and I, however, the night was young; we had been tipped off to an after party where Last Year's Men were playing a 4am set. The venue was a warehouse/art space called Moving Island that turned out to be quite stationary. When we arrived we realized that Motor Skills (the more danceable side-project of Gross Ghost's Mike Dillon) was also playing. The whole place went off for them and the Island was as close to moving as its ever been. Several puffs (and a lot of alcohol for every one else) meant that by 4am everyone was a little sloppy. That didn't stop any of us, however. The band still played fast and hard and brought the house down. Afterward all of the bands, along with Audrey and myself, decided to crash at the warehouse. Audrey hit up a tent while I stayed up smoking cigarettes and chatting with Mike Dillon before passing out on the floor around 7am. Stay tuned tomorrow for the photos and ramblings from day 2.
[All photos © Audrey Melton]