Live Blog, Hopscotch 9/10

1:55 pm: Said hey to my Hepcat buddies, settling in at the day party down here at the Lincoln. Youth Lagoon is on now, really cool 2-piece indie pop group.

2:15 pm: Hammer No More the Fingers is taking the stage. Hells yeah, good classic Triangle indie rock.

2:42 pm: Two songs from Hammer No More’s new EP debuted live here, should be a good one.

3:07 pm: HNMTF is wrapping up a very good performance. Very solid, consistent, fun, and technically intricate. Their new EP and supporting tour ought to be just as good.

3:35 pm: Up next, Ben Sollee. Yes, that guy with the cello. We’ve played him a lot on the podcast, can’t wait to see what he has in store.

3:52 pm: Sollee started off with a song from his album with Daniel Martin Moore, “Something, Somewhere, Sometime”. Top notch, very engaging. Took over Davie St. with the first note and never let go.

4:05 pm: Ben Sollee is giving, if not the best, then one of the best performances of the weekend. He only has three albums out, but is hitting all of them, especially the new one.

4:28 pm: So impressed with Ben Sollee. One of the greatest young songwriters in all of music, judging by his albums and this performance. Like Julianna Barwick last night, this performance is forcing us to re-evaluate his newest album, will likely push it up into the top 10 of the year list.

4:50 pm: After brief interviews with Joe Hall of HNMTF and Ben Sollee, I’m off to grab a bite to eat before Superchunk.

6:40 pm: Back just in time to nestle in to the belly of the crowd for Superchunk. Can’t wait!

6:55 pm: Wow, Superchunk sounds great down here at City Plaza. Amazingly, I think they sound better indoors for some reason, which is surprising because of their volume, but they still sound great.

7:07 pm: Terrific set thus far, a few older tunes, now one from MAJESTY SHREDDING. “Rosemarie”. As long as I get one from ON THE MOUTH, the show will be complete.

7:12 pm: Whaddya know! “For Tension” was next. Love this tune. I have seen it live before, but I was kinda hoping for it to be on the setlist.

7:30 pm: This show gets better and better. “Driveway to Driveway”, “Slack Motherfucker”, “Learned to Surf”. They’re busting out a bunch of great live stuff, old and new.

7:44 pm: Mac was right when he noted the significance on stage. This is an historic event for music in Raleigh. A punk band playing City Plaza. Whaaa?!?! Not the Brewery or the Pour House or a house show, but the freaking Fayetteville St. Mall City Plaza. Might not seem like a big deal, but it really truly is.

7:50 pm: Myself and a handful of like-minded folks are leaving before Flaming Lips take the stage. First, they haven’t been artistically relevant in at least six years. Second, Superchunk opens for no one in my mind. Maybe 15 years ago, but not today. And if I can’t keep Flaming Lips from playing, then I’ll just keep them and their very strange fans from dragging down my memory of tonight. I’m off to catch a breather before a night of jazz rock, surf rock, and lo fi punk rock.

9:03 pm: Early arrival at Kings, patiently awaiting the first show of the night, the Hairs.

9:30 pm: Right on time, the Hairs taking the stage. I’ve heard a lot of things about what to expect, people calling them surf pop, shitgaze, 90’s alt-rock-like. Will have to wait and see for myself.

9:46 pm: Ok, so all those tags could perhaps be applied by the untrained ear, but this band is way different than any of those would imply. More like lo-fi garage pop.

9:55 pm: I hear a lot of different influences swirled into this band. Their carefree pop and simple rock instrumentation gives the impression of early- to mid-era of Montreal, or perhaps Let’s Wrestle.

10:02 pm: You can also hear a little early Yo La Tengo at moments. High praise, yes, but it’s only shades of that sound.

10:21 pm: How a band with one short EP and two singles filled an hour set is beyond me, but they did and sounded really good in doing so.

10:30 pm: Going to interview the Hairs then move over to Tir na nOg and the Pour House for a while.

10:44 pm: Really cool interview. Awesome dude, very engaging to chat with.

10:58 pm: A little late, apparently, for the start of Beach Fossils’ set. Wanted to catch Fight the Big Bull too, but got over here too slowly.

11:05 pm: Tir na nOg is freaking packed. Probably the early crowd for Titus Andronicus.

11:28 pm: Caught a few of Beach Fossils’ really great tunes, but can’t deal with the ridiculously crowded vibe here. Gonna get a head start on the long walk to the Union for Times New Viking.

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