Even without forking over for a festival wristband, fans can get in on plenty of Hopscotch action this weekend thanks to yet another stellar slate of free day party action, a beloved tradition as anticipated by some as the official lineup reveal itself. With more than thirty day parties scattered around downtown, the daytime choices are almost as overwhelming as the main lineup, too. As usual, pickings are relatively slim on Thursday and Sunday, but Slim's offers solid options for both days with PotLuck's Rock 'N' Roll Pizza Party and its annual Hangover finale, respectively. Keeping in mind the inevitable delayed sets, surprise additions, and last-minute substitutions that demand flexibility—and an eye on Facebook event pages—when planning daytime itineraries. Here are our five can't-miss parties for 2017.
Churchkey Records and The Layabout's ¡Que Viva!
The defending champion of day parties, ¡Que Viva! is a more than worthy reason to sneak out of work early, with barely a break between its indoor and outdoor stages. It hardly seems like Hopscotch without getting sweaty with a raucous set from Triangle bar band kingpins Spider Bags, who pull double duty this year by backing powerhouse belter Reese McHenry—with whom they teamed on this year's tremendous Bad Girl LP—before closing out the party with a set of their own. (Disclosure: Spider Bags bassist Steve Oliva is the INDY's graphic and editorial designer.) Catch Bat Fangs' hooky garage rock, the disheveled power pop charms of Drag Sounds, or a bludgeoning from Durham's recently revived sludge punks Tooth. SLIME and Kate's Bush offer more heaviness.
The Jamestown record label and Durham radio station once again offer up a slew of one-off and first-time collaborations on a bill of experimental performances filled with familiar names from previous Hopscotch posters. Tashi Dorji and Wooden Wand's James Toth make their debut as a duo, while multi-instrumentalist Nathan Bowles of Pelt and Black Twig Pickers appears for the first time with a new trio. Ending with the inaugural set from Repressed—the super-pairing of Superchunk's Mac McCaughan and Lambchop's Kurt Wagner—means the bar will likely be at capacity for much of the afternoon; fortunately, WXDU simulcasts a live feed for those stuck in line or at home. Both Long Hots and Rosali perform for the first time in North Carolina, while Purling Hiss, Chuck Johnson, and House and Land join.
>Big Ed's Bloody Brunch
Saturday, The Pour House
Thanks to Big Ed's, you can treat yourself to a free breakfast and a little hair of the dog with a Bloody Mary and mimosa bar while generously giving back with donations to Urban Ministries of Wake County. Oh, and you can catch a nearly nonstop rock block, too. Highlights include Echo Courts' hazy hooks, ET Anderson's R & B-infused retro jangles, Wailin Storms' metallic menace, Reese McHenry & The Fox's bluesy bluster, and wild-and-woolly bouts of psych from both Albert Adams and Zack Mexico. Plus Cosmic Punk, Mistresses, and Vacant Company.
Saturday, Person Street Bar
Local weed worshippers The Dinwiddies briefly took their minds off their bongs to assemble a day party bill that serves as a benefit for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants of N.C. Lonnie Walker is back with new material that's as skewed and nervy as ever, while Happy Abandon delivers ambitious, arena-size rock anthems and Wayleaves settles into comfortable rootsy twang. Drag Sounds and Dim Delights also appear.
Friday, The Pour House
With many of the day parties relying heavily on rock, this Pour House party is among the best of the rest, stacked with short sets of local hip-hop from the likes of Wake Forest's slick spitting backpacker Nance and Chapel Hill's soul-inflected live crew (J)Rowdy & the Nightshift. (Disclosure: Josh Rowsey, aka (J) Rowdy, is an INDY advertising account executive.) M8alla's self-described "tribal trap" folds worldly influence into stylish R & B, while Durham's Danny Blaze blurs rap's regional boundaries with his bars and beats. Jooselord Magnus, 3AM, The Deeepend, Imani Pressley, and Freedom Infinite round out the lineup.