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2012 Hopscotch Itinerary: Greg Lowenhagen

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My father was particularly fond of the cliché "You snooze, you lose." He applied it liberally, cracking a wry smile to remind me that missed opportunities result from my inaction, not the circumstances I blamed. He never saw Hopscotch, but surely, if he had the chance to assess how you might approach a weekend when 175 bands, a cultural series, art shows, 35 day parties, a charity basketball game and a bike race converge on one downtown, he'd utter those four simple words.

Thursday, Sept. 6

Call in sick or skip class; there are more afternoon parties on Hopscotch's opening day than ever before. Kings, Sadlack's and White Collar Crime all host commendable kickoffs. By the time your friends catch up, they can help you baptize Memorial Auditorium, one of Hopscotch's new venues, with YOUNG MAGIC, or meet you up front at Berkeley Cafe for Carrboro's AIRSTRIP. Your whole crew should synchronize watches for TENEMENT's 10:30 p.m. set at CAM. They are perhaps my favorite lesser-known band playing Hopscotch—a young Midwestern trio carrying that region's power-pop and punk torch with the urgency of Olympic sprinters. If you stay at CAM, Sweden's HOLOGRAMS and San Francisco's THEE OH SEES will turn the torch into wildfire by night's end. Or check these headlining pairs: DEERHOOF and LIARS flip the new-venue baptism into séance at Memorial Auditorium, CITIES AVIV and G-SIDE shake The Pour House's shoulders, and BILL ORCUTT and JULIA HOLTER take different routes to wondrously weird at the Long View Center. Don't forget SCREAMING FEMALES and TRASH TALK, muscling the roof off the Lincoln Theatre. With the latter, you'll see one of the most aggressive bands playing today at a special point in their evolution.

Friday, Sept. 7

The first official Hopscotch day party begins at noon with THE LOVE LANGUAGE & FRIENDS and our charity basketball game in front of CAM. Come hungry for N.C. BBQ (that's pork, for the out-of-towners) and watch THE LOLLIPOPS, one of the Triangle's most buoyant young acts. By 5:30 p.m., the gates will open at Raleigh City Plaza for ZAMMUTO, BUILT TO SPILL and THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN. This show needs no recommendation—it's superlative here or anywhere else. As the last amplifier echoes, you can walk the half block to Lincoln Theatre, where local favorite HEADS ON STICKS lead the onslaught of ODONIS ODONIS, ZOLA JESUS and KILLER MIKE. With this lineup, no one would blame you if you never left the Lincoln for calmer shores.

For those interested in more mayhem, DOPE BODY at Five Star and PALLBEARER at Pour House do it differently, yet equally well. Indie rock forebears YO LA TENGO at Memorial and THE DB'S at Long View will remind you the finest things get better with age. To top it all off, NICK CATCHDUBS—co-founder of Fool's Gold Records and hall of fame party starter—ends the night blistering The Hive at Busy Bee with a throwdown bound to leave you smiling and sweating.

Saturday, Sept. 8

We've teamed with AC Restaurants, The Raleigh Times and The Hibernian to bring you three unique day parties. But at 5:30 p.m., it's back to Raleigh City Plaza for the main event with SHIRLETTE & THE DYNAMITE BROTHERS, ESCORT and THE ROOTS. In terms of sheer energy and good feeling, I expect this to top any show yet in the Plaza. With only a few hours left, keep it rolling at CAM where T0W3RS, NOBUNNY, DANNY BROWN and FLOSSTRADAMUS create a Hopscotch instant classic. Similarly, the "you better get there early or you won't get in" Slim's lineup with THE SPITS and WHATEVER BRAINS should go down favorably in festival lore. There is the almost-all Merge Records bill at Lincoln Theatre with WYE OAK and VERSUS and alt-country heaven at Deep South with CHELSEA CROWELL and SHOVELS & ROPE. At the very end, join a budding tradition at Pour House Music Hall as NO BS! BRASS BAND, like Budos Band before them, shuts it all down with horns and more horns. Now, it's time to snooze.

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