I don’t think our 2013 Hopscotch experience could have turned out any better, or more odd. Pissed Jeans and Earl Sweathshirt aren’t two acts we’d normally seek out, but in the great Hopscotch experience we saw what we typically wouldn’t and it was well worth it. We rushed over to the Earl Sweathshirt set, which was half way finished when we saw SceneSC contributor Pedro LopezDeVictoria’s curly locks pop out of the crowd and surf onto stage where he was immediately dragged out by security. He’s such a sweetheart though that they let him run around and come back in the front door where he high-fived his way back to the front.
Later we closed out our Hopscotch weekend with the snarling punk of Pissed Jeans. There are different types of people who go to shows and you can usually sort them by personality type by where they stand at the show. In the back are people who don’t like the crowds and just want to enjoy some peace and listen to some music, same thing with the people on the sides. Middle of the pack are usually fans that don’t want to interact too much, and front row are the fans that want to be seen. Maybe they even want the mic in their face for a couple of seconds of fame. I’m somewhere in the middle, but for Pissed Jeans I was front row taking pictures and it was quite terrifying. Lead singer Bradley Fry was one with the crowd, drinking their drinks and touching everyone in the front row. My worst nightmare, I thought he’d do something with my camera. Thankfully he didn’t, and I got my shots and got back. Looking back the discomfort of that situation was thrilling, but after I moved and got some perspective the show got more bizarre. The band’s set was seemingly finished, but they didn’t leave the stage. Even has Fry told the crowd to leave, no one left and the band just stacked their equipment on top of each other Jenga style on the stage. A fitting end to a music festival where we’ve learned to trust the programmers and try new things.
While those two sets were definitely highlights, it was a non-performance event that was the most eye opening. The panel, hosted by Hopscotch curator and Pitchfork contributor Grayson Currin brought several musicians and scribes together to talk about life on the road as a touring band, and writers perspectives on touring. Future Islands frontman Sam Herring stole the panel just hours before their set on the outdoor mainstage. Dressed in a white button down with no collar and high wasted army surplus type pants, Herring spoke candidly the entire panel about busted tours and their desire to steal bands fans. His honesty and sincerity made me view his band Future Islands in a different way. I’d seen them twice before, but that afternoon show changed the way I listened to the band and made me appreciate the performance aspect of his music, something I’d not enjoyed in the past. Herring pounded his chest, and let the sweat drip off his body as he poured his heart out to the home-state crowd. It was just two years before that they were playing the Lincoln Theatre blocks away. Now they’re entertaining the masses on the main stage and look to do more with the new songs they introduced to the crowd.
Having traveled to different music festivals, I’ve become comfortable bragging about Hopscotch and the North Carolina music scene. We cover a lot of the North Carolina locals year round, but don’t always get to see them live. No where else does a music festival combine cutting edge talent and showcase local talent at the same time. Hopscotch Music Festival grows each year and has earned the respect of everyone in the industry as a festival unlike any other.