Hopscotch Music Festival Photo Gallery and Coverage

Later today, I’ll have posted a gallery of my best photos from The Hopscotch Music Festival, but for now I’d love it if you’d check out my review – Ten Things, Good and Bad, About the Hopscotch Music Festival – at Glide Magazine!

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.

Bonnaroo Adds Cafe Acts, LouFest Brings Broken Social Scene, Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival

Broken Social Scene and She & Him are set to headline LouFest in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 28th and 29th. The lineup of each day is decidedly different, as Saturday will feature louder acts and Sunday has a more rootsy, acoustic flavor. The lineup also includes Built to Spill, Jeff Tweedy, Alejandro Escovedo, Airborne Toxic Event, Stephanie’sId, Fruit bats, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and many more.

Wilco (The Band) will curate a new festival in North Adams, Massachusetts. The Solid Sound Festival will take place August 13-15 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Wilco will headline the weekend, and the band members’ individual side projects will also appear: The Nels Cline Singers, Pronto, On Fillmore, and The Autumn Defense. More lineup info will be available soon.

A whole new group of bands has been added to Bonnaroo 2010. The latest list of acts will populate the festival’s relatively intimate cafe venues, such as Cafe Where and Troo Music Lounge. We’re pleased to see a few of our favorites, like Royal Bangs, Mike Posner, Danny Barnes and The Devil Makes Three on the list. Here’s the full list.

Alyssa Bonagura
Angus & Julia Stone
Boy Crisis
Danny Barnes
Elizabeth Cook
Frank Turner
Frontier Ruckus
Harper Simon
Imelda May
Jessie Baylin
Jill Andrews
Joe Robinson
Jonathan Sexton & The Big Love Orchestra
Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights
Joshua James
Kevin Devine
Mike Posner
Morning Teleportation
Paper Tongues
Red Cortez
Royal Bangs
Samantha Crain
Sarah Jarosz
Tiny Animals
The Bakerton Group
The Bridge
The Constellations
The Devil Makes Three
The Middle East
The Moondoggies
The Young Veins
Truth & Salvage Co.

Raleigh Plays Musical Hopscotch, Plus A Festival Update

You can imagine the excitement that shot through WM headquarters when the lineup for Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival was announced. This event is in the mold of South By Southwest in that bands will perform at multiple venues in the heart of the city, and it looks like an amazing time. The headliners – Broken Social Scene, Public Enemy, and Panda Bear – will perform along with selected others at Raleigh City Plaza, the new downtown promenade that opened late last year. The lucky locals that get to warm up for the big guys are The Love Language and The Rosebuds, both of whom definitely deserve the added attention.

Venues for the festival will include The Pour House Music Hall,The Berkeley Cafe, Deep South the Bar, Five Star, The Hive at Busy Bee, Kings, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh City Plaza, Slim’s and Tir Na Nog. Here’s the rest of the lineup!

Tortoise, Megafaun, No Age, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Fucked Up, 9th Wonder & Friends, Active Child, All Tiny Creatures, American Aquarium, Americans in France, Atlas Sound, Balmorhea, Bear in Heaven, Best Coast, Birds of Avalon, Black Congo NC, DJ George Brazil, Brutal Knights, Richard Buckner, Burning Star Core, Cannabis Corpse, Caitlin Cary’s Small Ponds with Tres Chicas, Cults, Greg Davis, Double Dagger, Double Negative, The Dynamite Brothers, EAR PWR, ExMonkeys, First Rate People, Followed by Static, Ben Frost, Future Islands, Golden Boys, The Golden Filter, Goner, Gray Young, Ryan Gustafson, Hammer No More the Fingers, Harlem, Harvey Milk, Horseback, John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff, I Was Totally Destroying It, Javelin, Jeb Bishop Trio, Juan Huevos, Kill the Noise, The Kingsbury Manx, Kooley High, Kylesa, The Light Pines, Lonnie Walker, Lucero, Luego, Max Indian, Erin McKeown, Midtown Dickens, The Moaners, The Monologue Bombs, Motor Skills, Mountains, Jon Mueller, Marissa Nadler, Ocean, Old Bricks, Pattern Is Movement, Pictureplane, Plague, Pontiak, Schooner, Sightings, spcl gst, Spider Bags, Thien, Tigercity, Treasure Fingers, US Christmas, Sharon Van Etten, Veelee, Vincent Black Shadow, War on Drugs, Washed Out, Weedeater, Whatever Brains, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Yip-Yip. More bands will be announced on April 12th. This Facebook posting has some interesting quotes and insight from the organizers.

Remember the Wakarusa Interstellar Meltdown page we highlighted a few weeks ago? They’ve gone and made it pretty and full of info. Looks like Ott, Mark Farina, James Izabella, Lotus, Boombox, Future Rock, and others will be playing a pair of stages at the event.

Oh, Osheaga – we want to go to you. The Montreal festival announced its lineup about a week ago. As previously reported here, Arcade Fire and Pavement will headline, along with Weezer, and the best of the rest includes Metric, The National, Deadmau5, The Black Keys, Stars, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jimmy Cliff, Beach House, Blitzen Trapper, and Chromeo.

April 5th and 6th will be eventful, as our big crushes Lollapalooza and Mile High announce their lineups, so be sure to check back with us!

Album Review: Charles Spearin – The Happiness Project

Charles Spearin, founder of Canadian experimenters Do Make Say Think and sometime contributor to Broken Social Scene, has artistically one-upped himself with The Happiness Project. While it will probably never tug at the heartstrings of as many people as BSS, The Happiness Project is an accomplishment that other musicians will find themselves wishing they had created as the years go by.

The Happiness ProjectUsing recorded interviews with his neighbors and friends as a starting point, Spearin thrusts the melodic, songy qualities of the human voice into his musical spotlight. Trumpet, piano, harp, saxophone and other tones mimic the patterns of human speech, as on “Mrs. Morris,” or use the interviewee’s statements as a musical starting point, as evidenced in “Vittoria.” Both tactics are often combined, resulting in oddly endearing vignettes like “Vanessa.”

“Vanessa” blooms in slow motion as strings and rhythmic pulses are gradually added to a piano and voice counterpoint. The process brings to mind the telltale vocal hooks and short, demonstrative samples used by hip-hop artists. It’s art school meets the school of the turntable meets overly creative Canadians, and the result is a highly improvisational fusion of jazz, folk, and aural anthropology.

With help from Canadian music mafia members Kevin Drew (BSS), Justin Small (DMST), and Evan Cranley (Stars), Spearin finds unexpected, heartwarming melodies throughout the album. The aforementioned harp is the catalyst for conversation on “Marisa,” while a child’s petulant display is visualized in violin on “Ondine.”

The peaks and valleys of a person’s speaking voice, when unfettered by expectations or nervousness, provide excellent themes on which Spearin builds an exponential collage of sounds. In some cases, like “Mr. Gowrie” and “Mrs. Morris,” the instrumental sounds are so well placed that they elevate the simple speech to a higher level of consciousness. Each song has a moment where the speaker and the music coalesce into each other, taking on each others traits before morphing into something entirely new.

The Happiness Project isn’t for everyone. It will challenge fans of Spearin’s more rock-oriented projects, and is best taken in a small dose. Most will welcome the album’s brief running time, regardless of their feelings about the content. I think it is a fantastic idea and a revelation, but I don’t think I’d want more than the 40 minutes it offers, at least not in one sitting.

After experiencing this album, the listener is schooled in a particularly challenging style of experimental music and enlightened by the endless variety of human speech patterns. Spearin deserves all the credit in the world for this brilliantly conceived work. While he never envisioned this project making it beyond his living room, it belongs in a conspicuous spot among the best avant-garde releases of the year.

Rating: 8.3 out of 10

-Support the Music! BUY the CD or DOWNLOAD the MP3 album
-Hear samples and learn more at The Happiness Project website

Rothbury Music Festival Announces Lineup

Late? yes. Never? No.


For their second event, the folks at the Rothbury Festival have combined the past and future of music to create a lineup with something for every taste. The festival takes place in Rothbury, Michigan over July 4th weekend and it will truly be a celebration of musical diversity.

This year’s lineup includes:

The Dead
Bob Dylan and His Band
The String Cheese Incident
Willie Nelson & Family
The Black Crowes
Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley & Nas
G. Love & Special Sauce
Gov’t Mule
Broken Social Scene
Yonder Mountain String Band
The Disco Biscuits
Les Claypool
Cold War Kids
John Butler
Ani DiFranco
Girl Talk
Femi Kuti & The Positive Force
Martin Sexton
Flogging Molly
Railroad Earth
The Hold Steady
Toots & The Maytals
Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
Brett Dennen
Zappa Plays Zappa
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Shpongle DJ Set
Son Volt
Jackie Greene
Man Man
Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band w/ Tony Rice
King Sunny Adé & His African Beats
STS9 Live PA
The Glitch Mob
Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam
Pretty Lights
Quannum All Stars ft. Lyrics Born, The Mighty Underdogs, Gift of Gab & Lifesavas
Toubab Krewe
Sam Roberts Band
Hill Country Revue
Kyle Hollingsworth Band
Lipp Service
2020 Soundsystem
Break Science ft. Adam Deitch
Underground Orchestra
Future Rock
The Macpodz
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
The Ragbirds
…and many more.

It appears that this festival will be an experience with multiple possible musical routes, as attendees will essentially be able to create their own unique schedule for the weekend. Seems to me that a prepared music fan could go all weekend without leaving their preferred realm, whether it be rock, electronic, funk, indie, hippie, or any other musical blanket you want to throw over these bands.

For all the info, see the Rothbury website.