Hopscotch Music Festival – Day 2 Day Parties
Featuring Midnite Snaxxx, Gross Ghost, Cold Cream, and Long Hots
The storm was gone and I made the executive decision to take a half day off from work and see a few bands at the Hopscotch day parties. Rock music > staring at excel spread sheets any day.
My intent was to get to Slims in time to see Gross Ghost, but I arrived early enough to catch a chunk of the set from Midnite Snaxxx. I vaguely knew of them, but they had a couple of things in their favor: they were from my former home of Oakland, which makes me automatically like them; and they were as old as me, which temporarily made me feel less old since I wasn't older than the band for a change. The music was pretty straight-forward garage punk, leaning more towards the hardcore end of the spectrum than the pop side most of the time, and they were really damn good. Apparently there is a new record coming on Slovenly, I'll definitely be copping that. Sometimes it pays to show up early.
It's been forever since I've seen Gross Ghost, and that's because it's been forever since they've played – singer Mike Dillon moved to New York City some time back. I'm not sure if they were performing together again as a one-off because Mike was back in town for Hopscotch, or if he's back for good and the band is back in the “rotation” so to speak – either way, it was good to see them and hear their jangly, emo-tinged indie pop again. I lasted for about half of their set because they were playing outside and fucking hell it was hot in the sun...my black camera felt like I was holding fire. It'll be interesting to see where the band goes from here.
Next up was Cold Cream down the street at Kings. A hardcore punk band is a rather odd choice for the Three Lobed day party, which is typically the home to a lot of improvised noisy/spaced out shit. Turns out (newish) Cold Cream singer Mara Thomas grew up with Three Lobed head honcho Cory, and it made a bit more sense. Much to my embarrassment I never managed to see the band when Montgomery Morris (Flesh Wounds, Last Year's Men) was the singer, but Mara did a fine job with the songs from their excellent 2018 self-titled cassette (plus a couple of new ones to boot). Even though I mentally was prepared for the composition of the band, it was still a mind fuck seeing Ron Liberti (Pipe) playing guitar and Laura King (Ex Hex, Flesh Wounds) playing bass – that's not what they're supposed to be doing on stage!
After a fun day so far, an unfortunate setback would strike next – I was not going to be able to see Loamlands, who were my main motivation for coming out for today's day parties in the first place. I got to Ruby Deluxe right on time for what was supposed to be their set, only to discover the band that was meant to be playing before Loamlands were just now setting up their equipment rather than breaking it down. I'm not sure if they were running behind schedule or Loamlands was unable to make it, but either way...boo. After coming to it late I've listened to their 2016 release “Sweet High Rise” as much or more than any other album this year. Oh well...since they're a Durham band hopefully there will be a next time.
My last (brief) stop was back at Slims for the Long Hots, who were playing on the back patio. The line to get in the club was down the block, so instead I watched from the entrance to the parking deck – one of the benefits of an outdoor show at Slims. I caught a few songs and my interest was immediately piqued...they were an all-female “primitive punk” trio with a singing drummer, and whose kit was only a snare and a floor tom. It was like a more robust, less weird version of Ed Schrader's Music Beat. The long line was justified, and I would have stayed and watched more, but I had a kid to pick up.