Hopscotch Music Festival
Due to work and a new baby now living at my house, Saturday was the only day I was able to make it out to day parties. I had two main reasons for going out - Flock of Dimes and Pipe - but managed to see some other hot jams while I was out and about.
I was so eager to make sure I didn't miss Flock of Dimes that I got to the Pour House super early and ended up catching part of the set by Leverage Models. I knew nothing about them, so here are my super basic & probably dumb observations...six piece from New York; two drummers, one with a full kit (including rototoms!) and the other with bongos and various other percussion; They sounded like big eighties rock crossed with the Postal Service crossed with Enon crossed with a late night talk show band; two singers, both decked out in white with fake white flowers attached to their mic stands; the dude singer looked like Greg Dulli's little brother, and the gal singer was probably in my top three most attractive people I've ever seen in real life...so attractive that it made me wonder if I was hallucinating or if she was possibly a robot. I'm not even sure how I felt about their music, but I would contemplate seeing this band again just to look at her.
I cannot express how excited I was for this Flock of Dimes show - not just because I would get to see Jenn Wasner, one of my favorite musicians in the whole world, but because it fixed my toughest scheduling conflict of the entire festival...now I would not have to choose between her and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard later in the evening. It took her a little while to get everything set up - I literally have no idea how she (and others of similar ilk) manage to keep straight what wires go where when you have over a dozen pedals, multiple keyboards, both a guitar and bass, and god knows how many other gadgets...guess it's a good thing I'm not musically inclined at all, because that would definitely make me quit if I was. She stated two important things during her show - she would be playing all new songs, and she just moved to the Triangle from Baltimore. The second statement is especially important, because it hopefully means lots more Flock of Dimes and maybe even Wye Oak shows in the future...and not just because it will make it much easier for me to stalk her - I'm way too lazy to stalk anyone. Anyways, yadda yadda yadda all the new songs sounded great - in the past I would say Flock of Dimes sounds like a mellower, more electronic version of Wye Oak, but given the direction of the last Wye Oak record "Shriek" I'm not sure there are any real differences to note between Wasner's two acts. As long as both involve her singing and playing the songs, that's totally fine with me.
I was on my way to Kings next, but when I got to the door I could hear that Make was still playing downstairs at Neptunes. A friend does some promo work for them and has been singing their praises for a while, so why not see what they are about? I only saw a few minutes but I was really feeling it - doom metal but with an early Metallica sort of flair, the vocals more screamed than delivered with the guttural Cookie Monster voice you usually get with these bands. They almost had a post-rock vibe, but heavy as shit at the same time. I really want to hear their whole album now, and I think I know exactly the person to talk to about that...
Flesh Wounds were the next act playing upstairs at Kings, and they're always a fun time. Apparently I'm not the only one who feels that way because the place was pretty close to packed. Like always, they played their brand of OG style punk with aggressive and snarling abandon, as if it was a disease they were trying to exercise from their body. It went over quite well with the ample crowd, and soon there was a mosh pit full of middle-aged white men in shorts swirling in front of the stage. I've seen Flesh Wounds at least a half-dozen times at this point, I really need to buy their goddamn record.
As is always the case anytime they play, Pipe was the highlight of the day...or rather festival...or hell, all year. My love of this band knows no bounds, and based on the median age of about 37 at this (still packed) show, I'm not alone. You always know what you're going to get at a Pipe show, because they've been playing the same songs, in pretty much the same way, since the mid-nineties. Singer Ron Liberti is one of the most entertaining front men in the country, hamming it up on a near constant basis - it's almost like watching a stand-up comic front a punk band. The only two things I can think to say about this Pipe gig over any of their others is they didn't play "You're Soaking in It" which is a bummer, and it wasn't until the last couple of songs that the crowd started pelting the band with beer cans, a typical sight at any show of theirs. Oh yeah, and Ron let everyone know he hates a dry biscuit. Pipe is everything I've ever loved about live music, and god bless them for still doing it right.