Friday, September 7, 2012

Hopscotch - Jenny Besetzt, Lilac Shadows, Deerhoof (8/6/12)

Raleigh's annual music festival, Hopscotch, began with a bang last night.  175 bands and 15 venues this year!  (not even counting the day parties)  I scheduled a full slate for the first night (Thursday), seeing 7 bands at 4 venues.  I've got to miss Friday night.  It's just as well, I need sleep!  And I've got another (more) full slate Saturday -- from day parties to night shows.

So, Part 1 of Thursday...  I started at White Collar Crime, seeing Greensboro's Jenny Besetzt.  Their swirling, driving guitar-and-keys attack swept me in.  I was gonna head over to Lilac Shadows earlier, but these guys are just so good (and I'd only seen them once), that I stayed for all but one song.  The sacrifices and on-the-fly decisions that Hopscotch presents began already.  TOO MUCH good music!  But the night was off to a great start.  

Jenny Besetzt...

Then I skipped down to Kings for Lilac Shadows.  They continue to get tighter and better (if that's possible).   Their atmospheric, sprawling splendor was a good follow-up to the first show down the street (they've shared bills, as well they should), and projectionist Adam Graetz's accompaniment -- as always -- added a lot to the show (and to my photos).  

Lilac Shadows...

What's a Lilac show without the blur that is Derek Torres covering a few hundred yards on stage? 
So as Lilac Shadows is about to finish, I hike down to Memorial Auditorium.  Deerhoof is about to start!!  I'd never seen them, but this band is just so pleasantly weird, I know this show will HAVE to be good.  It did, and it was.  HOW the fuck can a band be at once punk, indie-pop, hardcore, jazz, math-rock, and metal?!  And while doing so, pretty much eliminate the need for any of those genres by force of sheer humiliation?

Deerhoof is somehow both cute/quirky and heavy/thunderous.  The former comes from Satomi Matsuzaki's sweet vocals and wordplay.  The latter, from the mega-aggressive, hyper-synchronized chaos of guitar and drums from Greg Saunier drums), John Dieterich, and Ed Rodriguez (the hair in the middle below).  Yes, I know synchronized chaos is an oxymoron.  But so is this band.  And that oxymoron was on fire.


This Deerhoof show alone would have made my Hopscotch.  It's already made my list of Top 10 shows in my life (Top 5?), and I didn't even stay for the whole thing (again, too many good bands!).  They simply blew the lid off the joint... and it was a rather large joint.  It'll be hard to beat this show.  But there was more to come.  See Thursday Part 2 next, plus I've still got Saturday.  Now, to get some of that sleep.

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