We have the photographic evidence… don’t try to deny you were there, punks. Above: Priests. Our buddy Tyler Gallion made the rounds throughout the annual Hopscotch Music Festival, and came back with a trove o’ images. Below you can view some of his favorite shots, and meanwhile, check him out further over at his Facebook page. (He calls his biz, appropriately enough, Good Vendetta Photography.)
TEXT BY FRED MILLS; PHOTOS BY TYLER GALLION
Ay-i-iaiiiii… Hopscotch 2014, what can we say? A week after the event and we’re still exhausted, our ears still ringing. Full disclosure: the BLURT crew was busy pretty much from 10 in the morning until 2 in the evening Thursday through Saturday (with the exception of Thursday night, which was brought to a premature end, for us at least, thanks to a torrential rainpour that doused the streets of Raleigh and left us righteously soaked to the skin).
For starters, we were on hand at our sister business Schoolkids Records and helping host day parties: go HERE to see my photo gallery. My personal faves included Amigo, Pinkerton Raid, Temperance League, Lud, Melissa Swingle and – my new favorite band – The Everymen. We profiled The Everymen earlier this year at the site and now I know why contributor John Moore was so ga-ga over ‘em. And then of course it was time to hit the city plaza by 6pm, which found us watching De La Soul on Thursday night (they were good, although the crowd was oddly soporific), St. Vincent and Spoon on Friday (both were outstanding, although the sound for the latter was so criminally distorted no matter where you positioned yourself that someone on the audio crew needs to be horsewhipped), and Death and Mastodon on Saturday (Death was a revelation, and even one of the member’s odd tangent into Christian proselytizing didn’t take away from the punk/hard rock power of the set; Mastodon was just ridiculously brutal, and I mean that in a good way).
You can view photographer Gallion’s favorite images below, along with a more comprehensive night-by-night gallery HERE. Among my own highlights:
- Drag Sounds (Thursday, Pour House) – hi-nrg garage raveups straight outta Durham
- Blanko Basnet (Thursday, Tir Na Nog) – a Hammer No More The Fingers offshoot from Raleigh, and the kind of airy, Prog-tilting indie rock that never fails to make me grin
- Museum Mouth (Thursday, Slim’s) – although I spent most of the set trying to wring out my soaking wet shirt and mop the rain from my head, there was a pop-punk buzz afoot for these savvy young Tarheels that kept me warm in the tummy
- St. Vincent (Friday, city plaza) – it was a surprisingly short set, barely over an hour, which left more than a few fans who paid for an individual show ticket rather dismayed; there were noticeable “boos” from the crowd when Annie did not come back out for an encore. Still, she closed out her energetic, tuneful set in a strobelight-strafed, feedback-laden orgy of noise that was nothing less than cathartic.
- That busker group outside Capitol Smoke Shop (Friday, on the street) – one of the treats about SXSW in Austin is always the unexpected impromptu performances you run into, and Hopscotch was no exception. These guys served up a positively killer version of the Allmans’ “Blue Sky” arranged for guitar and mandolin, drawing an appreciative crowd in the process.
- Sun Kil Moon (Friday, Lincoln Theater) – technically I was not at this, but I did file a post-mortem about the “fuckin’ hillbillies” incident HERE. A few days later Mark K himself posted my story at his SKM website and let me know that of all the coverage, mine was the most fair and even-handed – and that he appreciated it.
- Death (Saturday, city plaza) – whoah, a drum solo 20 minutes into the set, now THAT is rock ‘n’ roll, my friends. Plus, with the Motor City meeting Hendrix in a melodic hard rockin’ soul mashup, it nicely accented the 45-minute all wheat/no chaff set. Both the newer and the older material worked, and I am making plans to see these guys as soon as possible in their natural club habitat.
- Silent Lunch (Saturday, Tir Na Nog) – edgy, angular, Wire-esque post-punk with chantlike atonal vocals but also with just enough oomph – props to the drummer – from the Durham band to transport the listener to another plane.
- Demon Eye (Saturday, Lincoln Theater) – now this is the kind of old-school metal that makes yours truly feel like a hirsute young teen all over again. Very ‘70s in thrust and with just enough contemporary shadings to win an audience in 2014. Count me among the new fans of this Raleigh combo.
Loads more, of course, but I risk repeating myself (and boring the reader). The bottom line is that Hopscotch is one of the best multiple-venue festivals currently operating, and it’s my hope that it earned enough attention – and took in enough receipts – to keep rolling for many years to come. See ya in 2015! – FM
(below) Amigo, Pinkerton Raid and Salt To Bitters, who performed at a day party hosted by our sister business Schoolkids Records
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