Unlike SXSW it is somewhat manageable to keep up with the day parties at Hopscotch. For starters most of them are official and coordinated by the same promoters, venues and present many of the same artists officially playing the festival after 9 PM. The kicker is, all the day parties are free and open to the public. They’re also in a more laid back setting than the night-time shows. This works both ways though, because with so many bands playing all day, the sound and mix for some of the artists is sometimes lacking. It’s easy to let that stuff slide though, and sit back and mingle and just enjoy the music. Day parties are a great time to see some bands you weren’t able to catch at night because they’re at the same time slot as another band, or catch some locals who aren’t on the night schedule. Then there is always the surprise show, or the surprise last-minute guest. That’s always a treat.
The day parties do turn the three-day festival into a marathon, so wear comfortable shoes and clothes, find somewhere comfortable to sit now and then and enjoy Raleigh. Here’s some of our favorite day parties and bands you don’t want to miss. Reading the Hopscotch lineup and the day party lineup can look like a foreign language sometimes, and sometimes bands are impossible to find out much info about. Hopefully this will help. Who the f is Acid Chaperone anyway??
Thursday September 10
We’d love to see more South Carolina bands on the official lineup, but this year we’re stoked to see so many SC acts playing day parties. There’s definitely no lack of state ties in the lineup, but usually only a couple of our home state acts make the cut. That didn’t change this year for the official lineup, we got our lone act Keath Mead, but the day parties came through this year thanks to Stereofly and Free Times. Truth is the only thing that tops my love for SC music is NC music, so I see Hopscotch for what it is, an opportunity to discover NC bands, some of which I read about and listen to, but rarely have the chance to catch live.
The deal with Hopscotch is that you have to make tough decisions constantly. You’re not going to see everything, you’re probably going to miss something amazing daily. So here it is, our Thursday day party picks.
12:30 Lakes&Woods at Slims
Earlier this summer Lakes&Woods released an excellent split with collaborating musician Jphono1 (who plays this event later in the day). The band features members of a handful of notable bands with Matt McMichaels of NC power pop band The Mayflies USA on vocals and guitar, so yeah I’m looking forward to this one. At this point you might still be able to get free pizza via Lilly’s Pizza.
1:00 Daniel Bachman at Kings Barcade
If you’ve never see virtuoso guitarist Daniel Bachman this would be as good of a time as any. Sometimes I wonder where the ceiling for the still young guitarist is, and it’s really hard to know. 1 o’clock at Kings on a Thursday should give you a chance for an up-close and personal concert.
1:30 JKutchma at Deep South
In March JKutchma & the Five Fifths released a massive multimedia project that included a 40 minute soundtrack paired with a book and film all titled Blue Highways. The story is partly a familiar one; ex punk singer of Red Collar turned solo folk troubadour. Blue Highways is a beautiful true Americana album, because there’s no better place for introspection than a Southern backroad.
2:00 Gray Young at Tir Na Nog
For locals they’ve had plenty of chances to see post rock trio Gray Young, but many of us are coming from out-of-town so it’s a great chance to see an excellent band that doesn’t travel all that often. As you can hear, the band relies more heavily on melodic and often melancholy lead guitar than vocals, all of it layered on top of a pallet of bass and drums.
2:30 She Returns from War at Deep South
Earlier this year I spent half a day in the studio as She Returns from War was finishing their album with producer Don Dixon. Dixon, who was a huge part of the early triangle music scene in the 70’s before going on to produce R.E.M., The Backsliders, and many more influential Southern bands raved about Hunter Park and her songwriting abilities. Park holds nothing back from her songs, and it’s a new experience each and every show she plays.
3:00 Doc Aquatic at Tir Na Nog
As much as Zack Mexico take on the sound of their Outer Banks surroundings in their songs, so too do Asheville’s Doc Aquatic. A city that thrives on its creative and easy going nature, Doc Aquatic’s indie rock tunes are all comfortable in their on skin, sometimes reserved and sometimes more outgoing.
3:30 Say Brother at Deep South
Ja Boyz from Columbia, SC are back at Hopscotch this year with their swampy Southern rock that will having you dancing, drinking, or both. The crew is currently writing for their new album with plans to record later this year. Yes, it’s past time, but they’re only building anticipation.
4:30 See Gulls at Slim’s
Leading up to Hopscotch last year NPR recommended See Gulls as a band to see, and that still stands true for 2015. The four piece surfy indie rock band features all notable veteran musicians, so they were set from the get go as a must see triangle act. Locals have had plenty of oppurtunities to see them live, but us out of towners don’t have the chance as much. Thus is the magic of Hopscotch.
Deep South the Bar: 12:30 – 5 p.m.
Stereofly Collective Presents: My Carolina Day Party Day 1
Brian Robert (12:30), JKutchma (1:30), She Returns From War (2:30), Say Brother (3:30), Sinners & Saints (4:30)
Sponsored by: Stereofly, Free-Times, 10 Foot Woody Records, SceneSC and Jam Room Studio