Hopscotch, Day Three: Tailgate or music festival? | Music

Hopscotch, Day Three: Tailgate or music festival?


The Hopscotch bunny went to Babes in Boyland, too. - PHOTO BY TIM LYTVINENKO
  • Photo by Tim Lytvinenko
  • The Hopscotch bunny went to Babes in Boyland, too.

Sunny September Saturdays with shirtless guys and sundress-clad ladies wandering through canopy tents while day drinking and devouring snacks usually means one thing in Raleigh: an N.C. State home football game. But while the Pack was in town Saturday—forcing fans to decide between an underwhelming victory or Hopscotch for the second year in a row —those same trappings were also present at a very different scene less than five miles away at Legends Nightclub. That's where North Carolina labels Negative Fun and Self Aware joined with Richmond-based Cherub Records for Let Feedback Ring, a 14 act, two-stage affair dominated by punk and experimental themes.

“We’ve never been to Raleigh before,” admitted Hot Dolphin singer/force-of-nature Lindsey Spurrier, midway through leading her Richmond quartet through a menacing, early afternoon set of garage rock growl. Hot Dolphin was one of many on the bill, it turns out, to make the trip to town exclusively for Let Feedback Ring, according to co-organizer (and fellow Indy contributor) Corbie Hill; Philadelphia’s tuneful No Other was apparently heading straight back after stopping through D.C. the night before, while pop adventurists The Caribbean left their D.C. home for Raleigh. Acts from Charlotte, Greensboro and Richmond mixed with the handful of strong Triangle bands.

Legends seemed to be a popular spot for out-of-town artists hanging around before or after their official festival gigs, too, as their white wristbands were in no short supply. After Raleigh’s No Love buzzed through a batch of fist-pumping jams, I overheard Priests frontwoman Katie Alice Greer lament the fact that she had to leave soon. It was hard to exit, considering that the alternating performances between Legends’ indoor stage and outdoor courtyard meant the music ran almost uninterrupted; kudos, too, to the organizers for keeping the show on schedule down to the minute.

Speaking of which, when I showed up at Babes in Boyland—the well conceived Girls Rock NC benefit—expecting Merge newbies Ex Hex to be on stage, I was pleasantly surprised to see What Cheer? Brigade leading a spur-of-the-moment brass band party that had kids and adults dancing. Members of the Carolina Rollergirls used some fancy footwork to weave between.

Organizer Heather Cook told me that she’d been in touch with the Rhode Island group—which closed down Kings later in the evening—but didn’t know they’d be showing up until receiving a text less than a half hour before they led a parade down Davie Street, trailed by a couple dozen folks whose interest they’d piqued. It was a fun, spontaneous moment that fit in well with the event’s friendly vibe, well worth the delayed start to Ex Hex’s deliciously riffy performance. Interestingly, the Mary Timony-led trio was another D.C. outfit that made its way to Raleigh just for its daytime set.

Even five years in, the reputation and word-of-mouth vibe that the Hopscotch festival has built that brings in acts from hours away to play a thirty minute performance at an unofficial showcase is one of its most impressive feats. It’s a budding Raleigh tradition in its own right, but next year, can we schedule it on a weekend when the Wolfpack is away?

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