Hopscotch 2015 recap, Day 1

It seemed like it was gonna be a weird year for Hopscotch — as I said to a number of people, there weren’t really any OH MY GOD artists for me this year, nobody where I thought to myself “how the hell did they pull that off?” Nobody where I was 100% certain that I MUST be at a certain venue at a certain time to see them.

That turned out not really to matter, though. There were a few flat moments in my schedule, sure — but that has been the case every year, since the folks who run the festival persist in NOT asking for my help in laying out the schedule according to my personal tastes.

And in fact, once I had bought my ticket & determined that I had no must-see tent-pole bands to orient my schedule around, I think I wound up spending more time listening to everyone playing the festival than I had in some previous years, and made a few discoveries that I might otherwise have missed.

(In contrast, when I go back & skim through the schedules from previous years, I see quite a few names of folks whom I skipped at the time but whom I now dearly love — maybe there were impossible schedule conflicts for some of them, but I may have also lazily bypassed them in my pre-fest listening. Lesson learned.)

So: My festival started at around 2:30 Thursday afternoon, with a day party at Kings (the place where I’ve probably spent the most Hopscotch time, if only because we’ve thrown a day party there every year for the past few years).

Day parties are tailor-made for catching up on local artists whom you’re too old/tired/lame to have seen before otherwise. I know & love the music of Doom Asylum & Nest Egg, but hadn’t seen either of them. Minimal techno performed live, and krautrocky psych jams, respectively. What’s not to love?

Doom Asylum
Nest Egg

It was also another chance to see one of my favorite NY bands, Guardian Alien, who played Hopscotch in 2012 (twice — once on the official schedule plus a quick pick-up set at Neptune’s — and yes, after seeing them the first time I made a point of seeking out their second set). This was also the first of many sets I saw by Guardian Alien drummer Greg Fox, who was drafted at the last minute to serve as the festival’s Improviser in Residence.

Guardian Alien

Greg was ostensibly in town to play Hopscotch in one of his other bands, Zs. But in addition to the Thursday Guardian Alien set, we had also booked Greg to perform an improv set with electronic artist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma at our Friday WXDU day party. So when he got on the plane to fly in on Thursday, he had three gigs on his schedule. By the time he flew out early this morning, he had played nine.

I first saw Greg play with the transcendental black metal band Liturgy at Kings in 2010, and while he is phenomenally fast, what’s really striking is his fluidity, his relaxed grip & stance, the flow state he clearly enters when he’s drumming.

Perhaps even more importantly — particularly in the context of this year’s Hopscotch — he has the improviser’s mindset of always saying “yes, and” & then worrying about the details later. Case in point: I emailed him to ask him to play our day party, having never met him before, and only occasionally interacted with him on Twitter. He replied with an enthusiastic yes 49 minutes later.

Anyway. Greg Fox. Phenomenal guy. Hopscotch 2015 MVP x1000.

After realizing (repeatedly, sadly) that City Plaza can ruin nearly any band for me, even longtime faves, I generally avoid it. So I sat out the sudden intense downpour from the safety of a barstool at Ashley Christensen’s newest restaurant, Death and Taxes. They specialize in wood-fired everything, courtesy of some ultra-fancy piece of kit that AC ordered from someplace far away. I browsed through a range of appetizers, had a couple of delicious (and intense, and somewhat esoteric) cocktails, and watched the sky open up.

My first official Hopscotch band of 2015 was my old friends Lud, who have been around in one form or another since the early 90s. They’re the best band in the Triangle, whether anyone else knows it or not. They only have one of their ~6 albums up on bandcamp, but since they’re all excellent, it’s an excellent one.


Stayed until the last glorious note rung out, then wandered over to the Lincoln to catch a bit of Some Army, whose long-delayed debut album is ready to go, but still not quite officially released. They spent a huge amount of time on it, so I hope it makes a suitable splash when it finally debuts.

At the Lincoln they were playing in the dark, covered by projections, which worked OK, I guess, although they’re not really a psych band & honestly I would have liked to have seen their faces. They are nice people.

Some Army

There was metal to be seen, but I was trying to postpone for a bit — even my ears have limits — so I jogged over to the other end of town to see a bit of Xylouris White. Honestly, although Jim White has played on some amazing albums (including one of my Desert Island Discs, Catpower’s Moon Mix), their combo of drums + lute wasn’t holding my interest after a few minutes, so I bounced.

Xylouris White

(This being, for better or worse, what one does at Hopscotch — it’s right there in the name.)

Solar Halos are one of the bright lights of the local metal scene — their debut album sums them up well, so go stream it. They were great. They always are.

Solar Halos

(The endless red/purple light at the Pour House doesn’t make the iPhone image sensor too happy, clearly.)

I was hoping for more from Boston’s Fórn, whose 2014 album, The Departure of Consciousness, is actually a pretty great slab of blackened funeral doom. And yes, they were loud, and reasonably tight, and good for any number of definitions of that word, but they still didn’t quite do it for me, probably because singer Chris Pinto’s range of screechy yowls doesn’t approach that of Mike Scheidt, and I’ve been listening to too much VHOL and Yob recently.


Or maybe I was just tired. It had been a long day, and it was only the first of three. And Friday was gonna be a doozy — I had an 8:00 a.m. alarm set so I could be in Raleigh by 10:30 for day party load-in.

So rather than stick around for Iron Reagan, or run next door to see Lydia Loveless (two things that should have been in pretty heavy contention), I found my car & headed home to Durham.

Hopscotch 2015 recap, Day 1

Hopscotch 2015 lineup data

The Hopscotch 2015 lineup was released today.

In order to assist you in making what will undoubtedly be some tough decisions, here’s some data that I’m in a weirdly unique position to be able to provide.

For the past 15+ years I’ve been running a website, trianglerock.com, so I have a database of most of the shows of interest that have happened locally during that time. This isn’t an infallible resource by any means – I miss shows, and I will occasionally skip shows if a day is overloaded already & the bands have stupid names.

But it’s a pretty good record of who’s been through & who hasn’t. I’d say the data below is probably at least 85% accurate. Feel free to point out gaps & errors.

Here, then, are this year’s Hopscotch bands, and the 2-3 most recent times they’ve played locally (if at all), based on my trianglerock.com database. It seems like this might be useful to try to gauge who comes through town regularly, and who rarely, if ever, comes through:

Ace Henderson: 2015-01-29 Cat’s Cradle Back Room; 2015-03-26 Pour House;
Acid Chaperone: 2015-02-12 Tir Na Nog; 2015-04-18 Slims;
Advaeta: 2015-03-27 Slims;
American Aquarium (a lot)
Ameriglow: 2015-03-26 Local 506; 2015-03-18 Nice Price Books;
Bandages: 2015-03-24 Slim’s; 2015-03-07 Nice Price Books;
Battles: 2012-06-10 Cat’s Cradle; 2007-03-24 Local 506;
Big Ups (none)
Birds of Avalon: 2015-04-11 The Pinhook; 2015-04-06 Neptunes;
Black Clouds: 2013-03-17 MotorCo Music Hall;
Blaxxx (none)
Booher (none)
Boulevards: 2015-03-06 Kings; 2015-01-22 Neptunes;
Breathers: 2015-04-01 Kings; 2015-03-05 Tir na Nog; 2015-02-25 Pinhook;
Brief Lives: 2014-11-09 Nice Price Books; 2014-06-01 The Cave;
Bully: 2014-10-20 Local 506;
Cakes Da Killa (none)
Carlitta Durand: 2011-07-14 The Casbah; 2010-12-11 Pour House;
Cashmere Cat (none)
Chaz French (none)
Chelsea Wolfe: 2013-09-10 Local 506; 2013-01-29 Local 506;
Choked Out: 2015-05-06 Prisma Video; 2015-01-23 Kings;
Chulo (none)
Clark (none)
Cloud Becomes Your Hand: 2011-07-25 Nightlight;
Dad & Dad: 2015-05-09 Kings; 2015-04-09 Tir Na Nog;
Daniel Romano: 2013-06-12 Pour House;
Deerhunter: 2014-02-03 Cat’s Cradle; 2013-09-22 Cat’s Cradle;
DJ Earl (none)
Dorthia Cottrell (none)
Drippy Inputs: 2015-05-11 Kings; 2015-04-04 Slim’s;
Dwight Yoakam: 2014-12-10 Carolina Theatre
Echo Courts: 2015-05-21 Neptunes; 2015-05-02 Kings;
Elisa Ambrogio: 2015-01-11 The Pinhook;
Escher: 2015-03-09 Pour House; 2015-01-21 The Maywood
EYEHATEGOD: 2010-06-05 Volume 11 Tavern; 2001-01-10 Kings;
Eyes Low: 2015-04-22 Nightlight;
Father (none)
FAULTS (none)
Flock of Dimes: 2014-10-30 Haw River Ballroom;
Fórn (none)
Godflesh (none)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: 2012-10-04 Cat’s Cradle; 2003-03-06 Cat’s Cradle;
GoldLink (none)
Grand Champeen: 2010-10-23 Kings; 2004-06-24 Go! Studios Rm. 4;
Grandma Sparrow: 2014-05-18 The Pinhook;
Hank Wood & The Hammerheads (none)
Hanz: 2015-01-23 Kings; 2014-08-15 Kings;
HeCTA (none)
Ian William Craig (none)
Jake Xerxes Fussell: 2015-04-04 Nice Price Books; 2015-04-03 Nightlight;
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma (none)
Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC: 2015-01-24 ArtsCenter; 2014-11-15 Kings;
Jenny Hval: 2014-03-28 Local 506;
Jessica Pratt: 2013-05-15 Cat’s Cradle;
John Chantler (none)
Jubilee (none)
Keath Mead: 2015-05-12 Cat’s Cradle;
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (none)
Las Rosas: 2015-04-18 Slim’s; 2015-01-09 Nightlight;
Lawrence English (none)
Le1F: 2014-01-31 The Pinhook;
Leapling: 2015-03-13 Nightlight;
Less Western: 2015-05-23 Kings; 2015-03-27 Slim’s;
Leverage Models: 2014-03-03 Slim’s; 2012-06-25 Slim’s;
Lilac Shadows: 2015-04-11 The Pinhook; 2015-04-10 Cat’s Cradle Back Room;
Lizzo (none)
Lost Trail: 2015-05-22 The Cave; 2015-04-30 The Cave;
Loud Boyz (none)
Lud: 2015-01-16 The Kraken; 2015-01-04 The Pinhook;
Luxe Posh (a lot)
Lydia Loveless: 2015-02-11 Motorco Music Hall; 2014-09-23 Motorco Music Hall;
Mac McCaughan: 2015-05-23 Cat’s Cradle Back Room; 2015-04-18 Central Park & Chaz’s;
Mamiffer (none)
Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler: 2014-10-10 The Pinhook;
May Erwin: 2014-10-18 Cat’s Cradle Back Room;
Microkingdom: 2011-11-12 Nightlight; 2008-03-07 Nightlight;
Mitski: 2015-03-07 Local 506;
Moenda: 2010-04-07 Nightlight;
Moon Duo: 2012-10-09 Kings; 2011-03-23 Kings;
Morbids: 2014-01-24 Local 506; 2013-07-27 The Cave;
Mumdance (none)
Must Be The Holy Ghost: 2015-04-09 Tir Na Nog; 2015-03-12 Motorco Music Hall;
Naked Naps: 2015-05-07 Tir Na Nog; 2015-04-14 Slim’s;
Natalie Prass and the Spacebomb Orchestra: 2015-04-17 Haw River Ballroom; 2015-03-27 Kings;
Nathan Golub: 2015-05-17 The Pinhook; 2015-05-16 Nice Price Books;
Natural Causes: 2015-04-05 Duke Coffeehouse; 2015-02-27 The Cave;
New Music Raleigh: Music by Oscar Bettison and Evan Ziporyn (~~)
Nick James: 2015-01-23 Kings; 2014-11-08 Kings;
No Love: 2015-02-07 Lincoln Theater; 2014-12-12 Nice Price Books;
Nocando (none)
Nots (none (?))
Obey City (none)
OBN IIIs: 2014-10-28 Neptunes;
Old Man Gloom (none)
Oulipo: 2015-05-09 Kings; 2015-04-01 Kings;
Outer Spaces: 2015-03-06 Nice Price Books; 2014-11-14 Slim’s;
Owen Pallett: 2010-04-26 Local 506;
Patois Counselors (none)
Peacers (none)
Phil Cook presents Southland Mission: 2015-05-07 Motorco Music Hall; 2014-10-11 Pour House;
Pile: 2012-04-27 Chapel Hill Underground; 2011-02-25 Duke Coffeehouse;
Pill (none)
Porches.: 2014-10-15 Duke Coffeehouse;
Prurient: 2005-09-29 Local 506; 2004-08-11 Nightlight;
Pusha T (none)
River Whyless: 2015-02-27 Kings; 2014-12-19 Pour House;
Roky Erickson (none)
Sannhet: 2015-04-04 Kings;
Sarah Louise (none)
Secret Boyfriend: 2015-02-21 Kings; 2015-02-15 The Pinhook;
Sheer Mag (none)
Shitty Boots: 2015-05-15 Kings; 2015-03-08 Slim’s;
Silent Lunch: 2015-03-20 Local 506; 2015-03-16 The Pinhook;
SkyBlew: 2015-05-23 Cat’s Cradle; 2015-05-22 Deep South (The Bar);
SMLH: 2015-05-09 Cat’s Cradle Back Room; 2015-03-15 Kings;
Solar Halos: 2015-01-17 Local 506; 2014-11-15 Kings;
Some Army: 2015-04-10 Cat’s Cradle Back Room; 2015-03-13 Slim’s;
Soon: 2015-04-23 Slim’s; 2015-04-01 The Cave;
Steve Gunn & The Black Twig Pickers: SG: 2015-05-11 The Pinhook; 2014-10-10 The Pinhook; BTP: annual WXDU/3 Lobed Day Parties; 2011-10-27 Nightlight;
Tashi Dorji: 2014-12-11 Neptunes
The Vibekillers: 2014-11-14 Pour House; 2014-04-16 Slim’s;
thefacesblur: 2015-04-25 Kings; 2015-03-13 Local 506;
Tombs: 2014-10-31 Local 506; 2009-05-29 Cat’s Cradle;
TV on the Radio: 2003-12-02 Gate City Noise;
Tycho: 2014-04-23 Cat’s Cradle; 2012-09-19 Cat’s Cradle;
TZYVYX: 2015-04-29 Pour House; 2014-01-31 Kings;
Wahyas: 2015-05-02 Local 506; 2015-04-05 Duke Coffeehouse;
Warehouse: 2015-04-16 Neptunes; 2015-02-25 The Pinhook;
Wildhoney: 2015-01-21 Nice Price Books;
Wizard Rifle: 2014-11-22 Slim’s; 2012-05-01 Slim’s;
Wovenhand: 2010-10-08 Duke Coffeehouse; 2008-10-07 Local 506;
WYMYNS PRYSYN: 2013-06-28 The Maywood;
X: 2009-06-09 Cat’s Cradle; 2008-05-27 Cat’s Cradle;
Yandrew: 2014-06-22 Kings; 2014-04-16 The Pinhook;
Zack Mexico: 2015-04-30 Tir Na Nog; 2015-03-22 Pour House;
Zeena Parkins (none)
Zs: 2013-03-20 Kings

Hopscotch 2015 lineup data