Hopscotch Music Festival
Day Three (Day Parties)
Every year, I have no real plans to go to any Hopscotch day parties - I have a hard enough time keeping up my stamina just for the evening festivities. And then pretty much every year, there's some reason why I actually need to go to at least one of them. This year, that reason was Eric Bachmann, who wasn't playing the main festival but was playing the Merge party at Kings. Considering my level of fandom for everything the man has ever released, my attendance was guaranteed. He was touring to support his new record "No Recover," bringing along a small backing band (electric guitar, stand up bass, three piece drums), and as expected he played a few songs off of that excellent new album (an album that will surely be one of my favorites on the year). He also threw in the classic "Crowned In Chrome" and a couple of tracks from his previous self-titled release, "Mercy" and "Dreaming." I was kinda hoping Skylar Gudasz would show up to handle the female portions of those last two songs like has happened in the past, but that did not come to fruition. My only complaint is the set was way, way, WAY too short...such is the nature of these day parties.
Eric wasn't the only thing I saw this afternoon, might as well catch a couple of other bands while I was out of the house. I also saw Joyero, who played just before Bachmann; it's the name that Wye Oak drummer Andy Stack performs under. Despite being one of the best drummers I've ever seen, there is zero drumming in Joyero, or at least zero live drumming. The music was a mix of computer tracks, keys/synths, random other electronics, and sometimes he played guitar - all paired with his very Doug Martsch-like vocals. I got a Casiotone for the Painfully Alone vibe from many of the songs (or Advance Base if you want me to be more current with my comparisons) - well-crafted, downer electro-pop that's still enjoyable. I found it interesting & humorous that he played a HeCTA cover; I realized it was a Merge artist's side project covering another Merge artist's side project (HeCTA is Kurt Wagner of Lambchop and a couple of friends). The crowd was way too fucking loud and could have taken all that talking outside, but that's just the nature of a day party. Plus, to be fair, it was fucking hot outside and the beer was cold inside.
I caught one last act after Bachmann before heading back home for a dinner break - Speed Stick. All I knew coming in was Speed Stick involved Laura King from Bat Fangs / Flesh Wounds, and that was enough for me to stick around and see what it was all about. Turns out it was her and Love Language drummer Tom Simpson both playing a mega-drum kit, face-to-face, sharing a mutual bass drum with pedals on either side. Add to that a couple of guitarists coloring the proceedings, and you got a performance that was one long improv jam that was very drum heavy, obviously. Should I mention that one of the guitarists was ASH FUCKING BOWIE?!?!? I didn't fan out on the Polvo godhead, but part of me really wanted to. I have no idea if Speed Stick is a real band or just a thing friends do on a lark every once in a while, but I liked it either way. And anything that gets more Ash Bowie on stage is a good thing, even if he's standing in the background noodling on his guitar with his back to the crowd.