By the time the Friday came along, the Hopscotch Music Festival was in full swing. One of the greatest features of the festival isn’t part of the festival at all – it’s the numerous unofficial day parties that happen throughout town. Some of them feature artists who are also playing evening sets, taking away some of the difficulty in choosing between conflicts. But they also feature many bands who come just to play the daytime shows. We spent Friday afternoon at Kings, at the party hosted jointly by Jamestown, NC-based Three Lobed Records and WXDU, Duke University’s radio station. Featuring such diverse acts as an experimental set by James Toth of Wooden Wand and guitarist Tashi Dorji, the folk-music of duo House and Land, the psychedelic noise of Philly rockers Purling Hiss, and singer-songwriter Rosali, it was a varied afternoon with lots of great music to check out. Finishing off the day was Repressed, a new electronic project by Lambchop frontman Kurt Wagner and Superchuck mastermind Mac McCaughan.
Then, with barely a moment to rest, it was time for Hopscotch again. Last year the festival had added a single night at Red Hat Amphitheater, a large outdoor venue located, uniquely for a venue of its size, right in the middle of town. This year they doubled (or even tripled) down on that by expanding to booking sets there on both Friday and Saturday nights, as well as on Sunday afternoon. With hip hop duo Run the Jewels headlining there, and Future Islands headlining at the City Plaza stage (which also featured Raleigh locals Birds of Avalon and recently-reunited DC band The Make-Up), it meant a lot of running back and forth. But who’s complaining when the festival is able to bring in so many big names?
After watching Future Islands finish off one of their always energetic sets, it was time to head back out to the venues. Har Mar Superstar was already underway at The Basement, but there was still time to catch a good chunk of his set. Lee Fields and the Expressions followed after. Then it was off to the Lincoln Theatre to catch Preoccupations, who put on a blistering set. They were followed by The Afghan Whigs, who by rights should have been a festival headliner themselves – or at least booked to a larger room, as the theatre was absolutely packed to capacity. Playing songs their new album In Spades as well as classics from their back catalog, they put on what was easily one of the best sets of the festival.
Did you catch our coverage of the first day of the festival? Coverage of Saturday and Sunday is coming soon!