Finally getting around to my Hopscotch 2016 post! Hopscotch is my favorite Raleigh event, and this year was no exception. Before I get into my “awards,” I have to say that there were some schedule complications this year that were less than perfect. Thursday and Saturday nights were my faves, but I was one of the unfortunate souls to have my Friday night obliterated by the Erykah Badu and Young Thug delays. With a festival like Hopscotch, time is of the essence. For every minute I’m not watching a fantastic band, I feel like I’m getting gypped.
That said, there isn’t a whole lot the festival peeps can do about delays. Badu’s flight was delayed and Young Thug just didn’t go on in time. Outside of micromanaging the artists, and forcing them onstage, delays are bound to happen. I’m interested to see how the crowds are managed next year, and whether the schedule gets changed at all to account for delays.
On to the positives (there were many).
// Most likely to rock your face clear off: Mutoid Man //
Absolutely LOVED this band and really did not want to leave their set at Lincoln Theater. Lead singer Steve Brodsky’s vocal abilities are off the charts. There was just enough metal to amp me up, but not too much to scare me off. (As an added bonus, Brodsky looks a little like Dr. Castellano from The Mindy Project.)
// Most likely to be listened to during a breakup: Car Seat Headrest //
Loved this angsty band driven by lead singer Will Toledo (which sounds like a spy name, but, for the sake of reporting completeness, it appears he is in fact just a musician). This band’s set was perfectly dramatic, emotional, and smart. Plus, he wore a zip-up hoody during the set, like the ones you see on highschoolers, and it was just perfect.
// Most likely to win a popularity contest (for good reason): Sylvan Esso //
This local band took Saturday night by storm, and EVERYONE was singing and jamming along like they were listening to their favorite band with their pals. The energy and sheer excitement of a local headliner made this show incredibly fun. The bomb.
// Most likely to give you constant chills: TIE Eric Bachmann & Joan Shelley //
Bachmann’s set was amazing and I thought I didn’t have any chills left. Flash forward to 30 minutes later when Shelley is laying down insane vocals over chill banjo.
// Best all-around: Andrew Bird //
I’ve been trying to recreate the energy during this show by listening to Bird on repeat with no success. Bird is one of those artists that is just WAY better live. He alternated between amazing vocals, violin, guitar, and whistling (yea, that’s right). If you have the chance to see this guy, take it. Amaze.
This was another great year at the festival, but I could definitely feel the crowds. I had a VIP pass and couldn’t get into Exploding Kitten Surprise, Stooges Brass Band, or A Giant Dog and those were just the ones I tried to get into, but couldn’t. I’m sure there were some other shows around the festival with similar lines. I’m one of those who can complain about things, but have absolutely no suggestions on improvement. To reduce the crowds would be to lose the small venues that make Hopscotch what it is. I say all this to say, this year felt rougher than last year, but was still pretty great.
I also have to shout out to Crank Arm Brewing and Boxcar for throwing awesome day parties on Friday. Each spot featured some awesome bands plus great drinks.
Before I jet, here are some more pics from different shows.
As always, have an amazing week and cheers!