Home-team heroes at Hopscotch 2018
By: Katei Cranford
The Hopscotch Music Festival will again descend over downtown Raleigh from Sept. 6-9.
Now in its ninth year, Hopscotch highlights the magic of community and collaboration between venues, restaurants, and random spaces coming together to make a playground for music-lovers with wallets of all sizes.
The series of free “Day Party” shows sprinkled during daylight hours extend festivities to everyone. It’s all part of why outlets such as Spin regard Hopscotch as, ”one of the best and most eclectic music festivals in America.”
Keeping that magic of community in mind, below are the Triad home-team heroes you can see, amongst the major stars and sick up-and-comers, at this year’s fest.
1970s Film Stock — Saturday, 9 p.m., Fletcher Opera Theater
1970s Film Stock is Eddie Garcia’s one-man pedalgasm. A longtime force around Winston-Salem, Garcia is excited to take his symphonic spectrum of sonic atmosphere and instrumentals to the forefront of an operatic-stage.
Basement Life — Saturday, 3 p.m., Schoolkids Records
The Greensboro post-punks in Basement Life are pumping their new album, Devour, and riding-out their influences of the late-1990s vibes with an emotive-fling.
Blueberry — Friday, 10:30 p.m., The Wicked Witch
The airy Greensboro pop group takes a minimalist approach to new wave stylings. At its core, Blueberry is anchored by Kate Burleson’s synthesizer and soft voice swirling Nate Goldsmith’s wading guitar, crafting a tone as sweet as the fruit-bearing their name.
Breathers — Friday, 4:30 p.m., Neptune’s. Saturday, 10:30 p.m., The Basement (Exhibit Hall A of the Raleigh Convention Center)
Before he headed Atlanta’s Breathers, “synthpop oddball” T. Lee Gunselman, was the driving force behind the WUAG Presents kings in Casual Curious. Quirky, artsy, and fun at a party, there’s more rhetorical substance behind Breathers’ robotic clicks and whistles than first meets the ear.
Drag Sounds — Thursday, 4:40 p.m., Boxcar. Friday, 3:15 p.m., Slim’s and 10 p.m., Deep South
A handful of years ago, Mike Wallace and Trevor Reece were building their shagged-out rock’n’roll repertoire in the Greensboro house-show circuit before moves to Baltimore and the Triangle helped them harken the late-1970s sound they spread today.
Echo Courts — Friday, 4:30 p.m., Night Rider. Saturday, 4 p.m., Slim’s
Echo Courts, (once from Greensboro) ride the softer-side of psych. Cresting the wave of their latest release, Room With a View, these dudes spin a soundtrack to accompany the swan song of summer.
Essex Muro — Saturday, 1:40 p.m., The Wicked Witch
Featuring former members of Jenny Besetzt, Jeff Bechtel and Brad Morton, who ditched the Greensboro dream pop ship and jumped aboard the punchy, Raleigh-based, punk-rock bandwagon. Churning-out “confusion-is-sexy” 1980s-style hardcore, Essex Muro whips crowds into frenzies that rip.
Harrison Ford Mustang — Friday, 1 p.m., Slim’s
Cheeky punkers, Greensboro’s Harrison Ford Mustang, push catchy songs about slasher flicks and general slacker themes. The recent addition of second-guitarist Michael Joncas (from the Kneads,) added a remarkably Replacements vibe to the now-quartet.
Old Heavy Hands — Saturday, 1:20 p.m., Boxcar
The Greensboro southern rockers in Old Heavy Hands lay it on thick. Running hard, like a pack of tattooed troubadours, they walk the line between tradition and reinvention to invoke classical styles of craftsmanship in songwriting (with a wild streak or two).
Paint Fumes — Friday, 11 p.m., Deep South
“If it ain’t Paint Fumes, it ain’t worth a huff.” That’s the name of their 2016 album and fairly solid tongue-in-cheek advice. Their Greensboro-connection runs deep through drummer, and GSO-native, Joshua Johnson (one-half of the far-out duo Wahya’s, and sole-practitioner behind the “one-man-band garage blues stomp” of Pinche Gringo.)
Paint Fumes is garage rock with snot, pumping tunes that go along with bad rituals and good times.
Stevie — Friday, 12:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Slim’s. Friday, 4 p.m, Cirque De Vol
A newer outfit featuring former Greensboro garage doo-woppers Lindsey Sprague and Amethyst White (from Trashettes and Daddy Issues) who’ve teamed-up with Chesley Kalnen (from Case Sensitive) to cut floral lo-fi femme melodies, ripe for dancing.
Toothsome — Friday, 1 p.m., Cirque De Vol. Saturday, 2 p.m., Schoolkids Records
What began as a Cure cover-set has grown into a brand new dark-pop cartel featuring members of Greensboro’s Basement Life, Kudzu Wish, and Alli with an I.
With more than 120 bands in the mix, samplings of local flavor are merely one facet of the many tasty experiences to be had over Hopscotch weekend.
So, be sure to say “hey” to your homies and enjoy the surprises.
It’s gonna be one helluva time.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who’s had a blast at every Hopscotch so far. She hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands playing NC the following week. You can catch her on WUAG 103.1FM every Tuesday from 5-7pm or via live stream at www.wuag.net.