Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hopscotch Music Festival - Saturday Night (9/10/16)

At long last, here's the last night of my Hopscotch Music Festival coverage... is it Hopscotch 2017 yet? (I know, practically... :) )  You may have noticed I skipped the big shows at City Plaza, save for the wonderful Wye Oak on Thursday.  With all the day parties (often stretching into the City Plaza time slot) and the great night shows, I had to take a break sometime!  Plus, I've never been much for bigger venues... takes the immediacy away.  Live music for me is as much about a shared experience with the band as it is about hearing the music.  I need to be front and center whether I'm taking photos or not.

Side note:  It's come to my attention that some people think I'm "working" when they see me shooting a show, or they don't want to get in my way, etc.  Nah, I'm having fun like everybody else.  Dive in!  Say hi!  The camera's just the way I see things.

Anyway, two shared experiences I was looking forward to in this last batch of night shows were at Deep South, always a good venue for Hopscotch shows.  I had never seen Weird Pennies (of Raleigh) yet, but knew of frontman Thomas McNeely when he was with Jenny Besetzt.  The Pennies' music sounded great online, and the show didn't disappoint.  Jerky, punky indie-experimental in the vein of a (slightly less esoteric) Whatever Brains or the next band in the lineup (see later)... I'll have to listen more to fully digest their sound, but it was good.

Weird Pennies...
Next band in the lineup (see now) was Columbia, SC's, ET Anderson.  As I wrote a few weeks back after their Kosher Hut pre-Hopscotch show, they may be my new favorite live band.  Recorded, they come off a bit quieter... chill, introspective weirdness with a slow burn.  Live, they take the same songs and blow that shit up.  Either way, it's a meld of soul and indie-weirdness.  A little bit Devo, a little bit Pavement, a lot bit outer space.  That shot at the top is ET Anderson bassist Hot Tub John, his wife's eyes lit up with love (and guitar glare).

ET Anderson...
Speaking of Whatever Brains, my next stop was to be Neptune's to see Bodykit, a new project featuring Rich and Josh from the Brains.  Unfortunately, I found out on the way over they were done. But I bumped into most of Beauty World and Moon Racer (where they told me about their joint release show at the Carrack in Durham this weekend, to which all of you MUST GO!) and followed them over to Memorial Auditorium to catch a little of Andrew Bird.  I'm somewhat familiar with Bird's music (having only one of his releases), but again, me and big venues... not so much.  Still, it was a nice break from the treble and the clang.  Tift Merritt even got up and sang a couple with him (see below).

Andrew Bird...
One way or another, I was gonna close Hopscotch with some brass.  My initial thought was fellow New Orleanians the Stooges Brass Band.  I figured the shotgun shack that is Slim's would already be at capacity for Downtown Boys (sorta-kinda brass in that members come from brass band What Cheer? Brigade, who wowed Hopscotch a year or two ago).  But I was getting reports that the line at the Pour House for Stooges was around the block, and when I walked by Slim's, it was open!  So I camped out there for the remainder.

Downtown Boys describe themselves as a "bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence."  Yeah, that's pretty much it.  Singer Victoria Ruiz opened most songs with a rant against the given injustice of the next song, and then proceeded to cap it with a blast of raw energy, belting out lyrics in English and Spanish with the ferocity of Ian MacKaye in his heydey.  She spent half her time in the crowd, singing and slamming, as the band held down the fort with dual saxes.  Definitely a fun way to close Hopscotch 2016.

Downtown Boys...
Are we done yet?
Not quite.  Here's a few black and white shots that better capture the controlled chaos of the Downtown Boys at Slim's.
See ya next year, Hopscotch!

No comments:

Post a Comment