Raleigh, N.C. — It’s that time of year again. No, not Labor Day furniture sales season (though it is that too) – it’s time for the seventh annual Hopscotch Music Festival! Hooray music! The Fest kicks off Thursday with 120 bands playing over 3 days.
With so many bands, it’s tough to know where to start. Fortunately we’ve done all the hard work for you and picked out the best acts from each night. So read on, music-lovers, and get pumped. The best music fest in the south is only four days away...
Television - Rarely do you get a chance to see a band like Television. Punk rock trailblazers who hobnobbed with the likes of The New York Dolls and Blondie in 1970s NYC, the group brought some erudition and instrumental skill to the punk genre, elevating a raw sound to the level of high art. The band is ubiquitous, if under-appreciated, and even if you don’t think you’ve heard ‘em before, you probably have. Google “Marquee Moon” right now and see if it doesn’t ring some bells.
Converge - Metalcore pioneers Converge play Lincoln Theatre Thursday. If you like your guitars loud and your vocals brutal, then this is the band for you. They’re headlining a night of metal acts including Mutoid Man and Grohg. So, if metal is your thing, you won’t want to miss this show.
Pink Flag - A Wire tribute band it ain’t, but that’s okay, this local (Durham) grrrl rock group has got an energy and sound all its own. Clearly inspired by the Riot Girl genre, the vocals alternate between punk shouting and saccharine-sweet coos all accompanied by a jangly, pared-down guitar and thumping drums. There are a lot of local acts to see at this year’s Fest, but this one is not to be missed.
Lambchop - Alt-country legend Kurt Wagner and his rotating cast of hipper-than-thou accompanists will be playing Fletcher Theater on Thursday. Wagner may be the best singer-songwriter you’ve never heard of, but his Nashville-based group has a devoted following around here – they’re even signed to Chapel Hill’s Merge Records. Check ‘em out if you’re in the mood for off-kilter Americana with sly lyrics and understated melodies.
Big Freedia - Have you heard about Bounce? If so, then you know all about Freedia. If you haven’t, then this is the perfect opportunity to learn. Big Freedia is the gender-bending Queen of Bounce, New Orleans’ own posterior-focused hip-hop genre (this is where twerking comes from, people!) So come to Lincoln Theatre Friday night in your tank-tops and hot pants, and prepare to release your wiggle!
Erykah Badu - The one, the only: Miss Erykah Badu. What more can we say? If you don’t know who she is, then we don’t know what to tell you. The R&B goddess goes on at Red Hat Amphitheater at 8:00, which is just early enough that she could probably make it to the Young Thug show at Memorial Auditorium if she hurried. The two artists have been trading Twitter compliments ever since Thug dropped his latest album. And speaking of…
Young Thug - If you haven’t been listening to “Jeffery,” the latest album from Hotlanta’s Youngest, you are missing out. Hopefully Thuggers will stack his set at Memorial with some of these new tracks. Either way, this show will be hottt. (And hey, maybe Wyclef will show up…)
Beach House - Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House will be headlining the show at City Plaza on Firday. Since their self-titled debut album took over the college radio-waves in 2006, Beach House has been pumping out a steady stream of warm and fuzzy, yet somewhat eerie, pop ballads. If you go to the show, listen for some of the more up-beat tracks from their latest album, “Thank Your Lucky Stars.”
Eric Bachmann - Local boy-made-good Eric Bachmann is best known as the lead singer of one of the best bands North Carolina every produced: Archers of Loaf. His solo work nods more to soul, country and even doo-wop than the indie rock he did so much to influence, but Bachmann’s distinctive, gravelly voice is as mesmerizing as ever - and the Tar Heel State is clearly still dear to his heart. Check out the single “Carolina” from his latest album; it’ll bring a tear to your eye.
Baroness - Three words for you: Wall. Of. Sound. This Savannah-based metal band excels at live shows, creating a nearly tangible blast of guitar and drums that almost knocks you over. And if it doesn’t, then the longhairs in the mosh-pit certainly will. Recent albums have veered from pure metal towards a more melodic mien, but make no mistake, these guys can still shred.
Andrew Bird - Former Squirrel Nut Zipper Andrew Bird has had many incarnations over his long career, but the multi-talented violinist-singer-songwriter impresses most when creating layered, orchestrated, blues-inspired rock and roll. Those of you who like eclectic rock with a big, bold and somewhat international feel will dig it.
Stooges Brass Band - A real, live, New Orleans brass band – with some hip-hop and funk thrown in for good measure. Don’t get much better than that! We don’t know much about this group (apparently they recorded with Jessica Simpson???), but one listen to “Weed Drought” got us hooked. They’re playing during the day at the Makers Market in Commerce Place as well as at night at The Pour House, so there’s no excuse to miss 'em.