Hopscotch Music Festival 2016
Day 3 – Saturday, September 10th, 2016
I say it every year, but this year it might actually be true: This is my last Hopscotch. It’s not that Hopscotch is anything other than the best curated and executed music festival in the Southeast, but rather that a 3-day festival is a younger man’s game. I was ready to go home midway through Day 2 but I knew there were still some gems to be found on Day 3. Instead, I only managed to see about 3 sets because I again decided to not park myself at one venue since I thought some change would do me good. (That mindset caused me to miss Tribulation and Baroness. Or maybe I missed them because I fell asleep at Memorial Auditorium. -Ed.)
My heart swelled with pride at the fact that the arguably biggest City Plaza turnout was for Durham’s own indie-electronic duo, Sylvan Esso. I immersed myself in the center of the massive City Plaza throng in order to fully experience a musical style that was markedly outside my personal spectrum. I only lasted a couple songs before I found myself searching for an egress. I will say that SO was a pleasant surprise to me but the crowd was hanging on Amelia’s every word and Nick’s every bleep and bloop.
Next up was a short walk to Kings where I felt more comfortable among those of my own ilk who turned out to see hometown melodic death metal upstarts, Necrocosm.
Now we’re cooking with gas! I had seen the Necrocosm boys around the scene and caught a few of their sets before but this one was the pièce de résistance. The crowd was amped, filling Kings pretty full for such an early set. Necrocosm immediately went to work with their high-octane guitar histrionics.
Frontman Zach’s large and commanding stage presence was offset by how excited and grateful they were to be playing for a crowd that was diggin’ it. Joel’s luscious locks were flying in the non-existent breeze as he headbanged with almost the same ferocity that he uses to attack his ripping riffs.
Necrocosm played three new tracks which I am sure will feature prominently on their upcoming October tour. One of them, I believe, was called, “Atrocities of the Ephemeral,” whose subject matter centered on Peruvian human fat harvesters selling their ill-gotten gains to the highest bidder for use in beauty products. Metal is the fucking best…and Raleigh is proud to let Necrocosm carry that banner for the City of Oaks.
What would become my last show of the night, I swung by Memorial Auditorium to catch America’s premiere indie-folk violinist and whistler extraordinaire, Andrew Bird.
AB is highly talented: violin tricks, guitar, great voice, etc. I have never been a fan of whistling but Bird makes it much more musical than the average asshole whistling next to you at the urinals. The classiness and large scale of Memorial Auditorium was a great setting for Bird and co. The smoke and lights were understated which was a nice touch that matched the tone of the set. I liked that all four musicians on stage were lined up equally, creating a sense of cohesion despite AB’s many overpowering talents.
A highlight of the set was when Bird stated that he had earlier thought that the venue was conducive to an acoustic session so he made it happen as he and his bandmates gathered around an ambient mic for quite a few songs under that setup. Then it was back to the Andrew Bird recipe for success: Whistle a bird noise, loop it; pluck the violin, loop it; bow the violin, loop it; put down the violin, pick up guitar, sing.
Bird played an exceptionally long set as he was the Memorial headliner for the evening but it did not feel as if it was dragging on. I did doze off for a few minutes but that had little to do with the show. I was simply draggin’ ass after three nights of festival shenanigans.
As much as I wanted to catch Tribulation and Baroness, I knew that my tank was empty after Andrew Bird so I simply disappeared into the night, bidding yet another Hopscotch Music Festival adieu.