One the best parts of Hopscotch had to be feeling the energy of the crowds. Since I was lucky to get a photo pass I was often up at the front in the photo pits trying to capture every moment, from the artists performances to the dancing crowds. Definitely feeling the excitement from everyone in City Plaza and Red Hat Ampithetre gave me joy. I also really appreciated getting to sit and have a good therapeutic cry with my friends surrounding me at Mt. Eerie, speaking to one of my favorite artists, Japanese Breakfast, and even giving the good ole folks in Gobbinjr a place to stay the night. Nothing was sweeter than seeing Lincoln Theatre packed full and tight for Museum Mouth, even if I only got to see their last song. By far the best experience however, was my friends and I releasing our bodies from the mortal coil of the Hopscotch wristband we all manage to pull way too tight on our wrists. We managed such a feat with the blunt edge of Waffle House butter knives once Angel Olsen had closed out the weekend festival. Looking forward to maybe learning my lesson next year with the wristbands, and I’m excited for what next year’s Hopscotch will bring to the Oak City.
This year was my first Hopscotch experience, and it was absolutely incredible for so many reasons! Running around downtown, meeting up with different groups of friends, making a few new ones, and seeing some incredible artists made for a truly special experience. However, there was one performance that stuck out in my mind. On Saturday night, Dear Nora graced Lincoln Theatre with their first show in North Carolina since 2005. I had listened to a little bit of their music at the recommendation of two of my friends, and was excited to see what the night had in store. I had expected a wonderful performance, but I did not expect the intense emotions that came with hearing the strong, crystal voice of Katy Davidson, and watching her return to her musical pursuits. Dear Nora’s last album, Three States: Rarities 1997-2007, was released nearly ten years ago in 2008 as a collection of songs that hadn’t been featured on previous albums, but had been recorded by Katy and the band over the years from 1997-2007. After the release of that album and some last few tours, Katy Davidson decided to retire Dear Nora, and take time to nurture her personal life. Now, in 2017, she has announced that there will be a new Dear Nora album coming out in 2018, and performed a couple songs that will be featured on it. In her performance, I felt a sense of returned comfort radiating off of her, and she looked as if she was at home on the stage, gazing at the crowd as if she was being reunited with old friends. It was a powerful experience that nearly brought me to tears, and watching her and the other band members pouring passion and ease into every line and melody was a beautiful way to spend my last show of Hopscotch 2017.
Dozens of sweaty twenty-something-year-olds + a giant set of ballon monster hands + two middle-aged men = an insane moshing of high-octane music that did not disappoint. Killer Mike and LP of Run the Jewels came to Hopscotch last Friday night and performed an incredible show. The mixed hard-hitting rap with intense beats that any bystander had to turn up to. Not only that, but when it became time to mosh for a few songs they stopped and did what may have been the most personable PSA about how to mosh responsibly, which I am sure any first time moshers like myself or any smaller individuals also appreciated. There was not a single boring moment at one of the most highly anticipated acts during the entire weekend.
It is difficult to pick a favorite among the many outstanding acts I experienced this weekend at Hopscotch Music Festival, but one artist whom I made the last minute decision of skipping the renowned and beauteous melancholy of Mount Eerie to experience I can say at the least blew me away. That artist was G Yamayawa. I regretfully had only heard of him two weeks before Hopscotch while mindlessly meandering the list of names on the lineup which I had not heard of before. The tune “North Cack” came on which is a comical yet undeniably catchy tune about being an Asian rapper in Durham, North Carolina which became glued in my head for days to come.
Before his set even started the grandeur Lincoln theatre was packed floor to balcony with an enthusiastic crowd of people. I picked a spot up to the front right of the stage wanting to get a real up close and personal experience as usual when attending a show. As the show went on the set got more and more energetic and entertaining and I could see why so many people had flocked to see him that night.
What stood out the most to me about Yamazawa’s set was how close to home it felt. In his music he often refers to Durham and NC his debut album is even titled “Shouts to Duham.” Furthermore he decided to share his time on the music festival big stage with other local rap/hip-hop musicians pulling up Alex Thompson (ZOOCRU) onto two of his numbers to play flute and saxophone as well as Defacto Thespian to rap with him, which was an extremely classy gesture.
An element I had never before experienced at a show before that he brought to the stage was performing slam poetry between songs which brought the audience to a dead silent reflection. After this he shouted out to his parents and followed up by rapping in their native language, Japanese a gesture which made my heart melt and I’m sure his families as well.
He closed the night with his smash hit, the song which brought me to the theatre that night “North Cack” accompanied by a huge crowd of dancers and left the audience bursting with enjoyment.
Hopscotch 2017 came and went super quickly, as it typically does. Thursday starts and I’m just like well now it’s Sunday. This speaks to the constant action Hopscotch brings to Raleigh between the evening activities and day parties. For me, this year was at it’s most fun in the big dance hall areas i.e. The Basement and CAM when DJs such as Kaytranada and Lunice performed. These acts bring lots of energy and fun to Hopscotch as they make our bodies move and dance. The DJs the festival brings in always create one of most fun and engaging atmospheres!
WKNC would like to thank Hopscotch for its support and for bringing masses of great music together once a year in this city we call home!