Monday, September 18, 2017

Hopscotch Music Festival, Day Four at Red Hat Amphitheater - 9/10/2017

Hopscotch Music Festival
Day Four
Red Hat Amphitheater
9/10/2017

For the first time in the history of Hopscotch, they expanded the festival to a fourth day.  This fourth day would occur at only one venue (Red Hat), and wouldn't run that late (the final act started at 8)...it was like the musical equivalent to the cooling off period after a vigorous workout.  That's something that people who exercise do, right?  I was pretty damn tired from the events of the last three days, but I wanted to see at least a couple of the bands playing this final day.

When I got there Cloud Nothings were in the middle of their set.  The few recordings I've heard by them have never really moved the needle in either direction, but I'm always up to get a live read on a band I've never seen before.  I had them pegged into a pop-punk/Vagrant records category, but at least on this day they were much louder, noisier, and more chaotic than I would have expected, which was to their benefit.  There was still a bit of a pop-punk vibe, just a very distorted version of it.  I'm not sure it turned me into a fan or anything, but I wasn't mad I saw half their set. 

Helium played next, and were one of the top three reasons I bought a four day instead of Friday only festival pass (along with Metz and Big Boi) and the main reason I even came out on this fourth day at all.  Technically it was billed as "Mary Timony Plays Helium," but pretty much everyone thinks of Mary Timony as Helium, so that name seems pointlessly wordy.  The band today was her and three additional members, none of which were originally in the band - I was holding out a small sliver of hope that original member (and Polvo frontman) Ash Bowie might make an appearance since he lives here in the Triangle, but it was not to be.  A lot of the folks at the front of the crowd (where I was, naturally) were all older folks like myself, reliving those nineties college years, and then a smattering of young people who probably had no idea why all these old people were so excited to see the old lady on stage play these "classic rock" songs.  I'm terrible with Helium song names, but I know they played "Pat's Trick," the one name I can remember; the set was a ton of songs off those first two records obviously.  Also obvious: watching Mary Timony play guitar is a true delight.  I'm pretty sure I say this every time I see her with any of her bands, but that's because it's true every time I see her with any of her bands.  Rock show etiquette question: as we all know, you don't wear a band's t-shirt to their show (Iron Maiden excluded) - but can you wear a tee of another band that one of those band members is in?  I ask because I was wearing an Ex Hex shirt, and I feel like I got some looks from the cool kids.  They're just lucky my "I HEART MARY TIMONY" crop top was in the wash!

I decided to stick around for one more band, the much beloved locals Mount Moriah.  My very first thought was where is Jenks, their guitar player?  In his place was the dude who played guitar with Heather during her solo set the day before...it's unclear if this is a temporary thing or that Jenks is no longer with the band, but that would be a real bummer if he was gone.  Mount Moriah has always had a revolving door of drummers and additional members, but Heather, Jenks and bassist Casey have all been there from the start.  Now for the bad news - during the span of their short set, they didn't play their best song "Lament."  I like everything they've released, but I love this song on a whole different level.  The good news - I'm pretty damn happy to hear Heather sing any goddamn thing, so it was time well spent regardless.  I don't mean this as an insult to the rest of the band, but her voice has always been the driving force of this act anyways. 

This ended up as a nice dessert course for this year's Hopscotch Music Festival - another successful outing in downtown Raleigh in the books. 

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