Hopscotch Music Festival Preview

Our love for the city of Raleigh, NC and its music scene is well documented here and at Glide Magazine. Well, from September 9-11, 2010, we and the city will be exchanging a big ‘ol sloppy musical kiss. We’re pleased to be covering the inaugural Hopscotch Music Festival, which will take over a large swath of downtown Raleigh for three days of club-hopping mayhem and outdoor festivities. It’s safe to say that this weekend will feature the most eclectic, concentrated gathering of artists that Raleigh has ever seen, and we’ll be doing our heat-of-the-moment Twitter updates, bringing you daily photo galleries, and providing a full review after the smoke clears.

It’s not hard to imagine Hopscotch eventually incorporating the new Raleigh Boutique Amphitheater into the event, and if that happens, we’ll have a monster of a festival on our hands. But for the time being, headliners will perform on the City Plaza while 9 different clubs host the rest of the artists, and that alone should make for an interesting weekend. Friday and Saturday, the music at the Plaza starts right around happy hour before moving into the clubs around 10 PM.

There’s no music at the Plaza on Thursday, but the festival begins in earnest with a dynamite threesome at The Lincoln Theater. Triangle favorites American Aquarium are sandwiched between local up-and-comers Max Indian and the raucous Memphis rock outfit Lucero. Of course, we’ll only get to see that bill if we sacrifice a ton of other stuff – for instance, Madison, Wisconsin’s highly emotive Collections of Colonies of Bees and indie darlings Beach House playing back-to-back at Tir-Na-Nog, one of Raleigh’s finest establishments. Trailblazing Portland act Akron/Family at The Pour House should make for a nice nightcap, in any event.

Friday evening has the potential to be infinitely special, as a couple of hard-to-find headliners will grace the Plaza stage – Broken Social Scene and Panda Bear. There’s a certain anticipation building around Panda Bear’s set, so much that we’ll be interested to see just how engaged he can keep a crowd of this size. But the action really starts after those two bands have had their way with your innards. At 9 PM, one of Triangle’s finest exports, 9th Wonder, will be taking over the Lincoln Theater for what is sure to be a night of wicked lyricism and head-nodding beats with many special guests, including one Raekwon. It’s going to be tough to stay in one spot though, as music beckons from all around the city. Hardest to pass up? The Small Ponds at Deep South The Bar, Mountains at The Busy Bee, Bowerbirds at The Pour House and Fucked Up at the Berkley Cafe.

Saturday night should fly by after Public Enemy is done with their headlining set, because there’s so much to see in so little time. Tortoise at the Lincoln Theater is a must, especially since Brooklyn’s Bear in Heaven are on directly beforehand. Durham, NC’s own Megafaun promise “a seamless night of sound” with various collaborators at the reborn Kings music club, and there’s delicious juxtaposition at Deep South The Bar as local hip-hop collective Kooley High will follow the eccentric Canadian group First Rate People.

On the surface, the Hopscotch schedule appears manageable. But for an adventurous music lover, it’s a mountain of conflicts to rival the biggest mega-festivals like Bonnaroo or Jazzfest. In researching the bands that I had never heard of until I saw their names on the lineup, I found it much more difficult to plan coverage. We’ll just have to give it our best shot, see what happens, and hope you come along for the journey.

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