Additional contributions from Lily Oberman, Ethan Simonoff, and Dan Sloan
You may be wondering why WNUR, based out of Chicago, would choose to send four of its staff to Hopscotch, a music festival in Raleigh—especially in a day-and-age when everyone’s busy talking about the SXSWs and the Pitchforks of the world.
This year’s lineup has some great acts, and the scheduling of it is perfect for Northwestern’s perennially screwed-up academic calendar. The reality is it’s cheaper, it’s less crowded, and so far North Carolina’s done nothing but good by us. And it lets us do what we do best, which is talking about stuff other people don’t always talk about. After the jump, our thoughts on the first night of the festival, with GIFs!
Chris Forsyth & Koen Holtkamp
We started the night in the Long View Center, a historical church that is currently used by the Unity Church of the Triangle but also serves as a performance space. Holtkamp is one half of drone duo Mountains, while Forsyth’s put out a lot of solo guitar records; put the two in a sick-as-hell church, and the appeal should be obvious. A cool vibe, and their album, Early Astral, is awesome too.
This up-and-coming “indie rock” band put on their set at Memorial Auditorium, where apparently you can usually see the opera and other boring stuff that doesn’t have guitars. Yawwwwn. We look forward to more from these spirited youngsters!
[what is a deerhoof]
Maybe our first real surprise of the festival–we wanted to be early for Alvarius B., but found ourselves in the bar next door instead, where this Columbia, SC group was playing. The singer made jokes about smoking weed and listening to Creedence, and both influences seem to come through pretty strongly. The group doesn’t have much material on the Web as of yet, but hopefully we’ll be able to hear more from them soon.
[Hopscotch Music Fest]
With a raucous 45-minute set that ran right up against its time limit (and, towards the end, drew an accusation of sexism from the back of the bar), Alvarius B. (real name Alan Bishop, also of Sun City Girls and founder of the Sublime Frequencies label) explored some of the more misanthropic dimensions of the acoustic guitar. “Fuck you,” he said to the crowd after one last song, “and thanks a lot. See you next time.”
Bill Orcutt, guitarist from now-defunct noise band Harry Pussy, played a solo set at the Long View Center at 11. Orcutt played an unassuming acoustic guitar set for a little less than half an hour, but shredded on electric guitar at the WXDU day party today with Alvarius B. and Chris Corsano (more on this tomorrow).
Six Organs of Admittance
Six Organs of Admittance, the musical vehicle for Ben Chasny, started about 5 minutes before midnight. Though albums released under this name often carry support from guest musicians, the bulk of the night’s performance featured Chasny alone on guitar and vocals. However, the last song saw Chris Corsano, free jazz drummer and friend of Chasny, join the stage; the two proceeded to play/improvise for about 15 minutes, and it was a highlight of the first night.
We showed up to the venue about twenty minutes after their show started, hoping to catch the end on our way back to the hotel, but no luck; the rap duo from Huntsville, AL, had just left the stage. We hung around just long enough to shake hands with Yung Clova, who thanked us for coming out. Oops. We promise we’ll make it up to him and ST 2 Lettaz next time they’re in Chicago.