Tampopo: Ramen, Westerns and The Perfect Bite

Alright, so this week I’ll be taking a short break from my regularly scheduled blogs focused on hardcore and local music, but I’ve prepared a nice treat as a substitute. I will be writing about “Tampopo” by Juzo Itami. 

This movie was introduced to me by a good friend, and has quickly become a comforting favorite to rewatch every now and again. The biggest draws towards this movie are its comedy, food presentation, and wacky characters. “Tampopo” is all about a novice ramen maker trying to become a full-fledged ramen master by the end of the movie. 

I’ll dive a little deeper into the plot, but not too much so that it ruins the movie. Honestly, I think even if this film were to be spoiled it’d be terrific to watch anyway because of how the actors deliver their jokes, lines, and emotion on screen. I could never capture the beauty on the screen and translate it into words here. 

Serving 1 – Plot

The movie opens in a movie theater with a dapper man and woman talking through the fourth wall to us about how to enjoy a movie with food (no chips!). These two characters are fun additions to the main plot of Goro (played by Tsutomu Yamazaki), Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto) and Gun (Ken Watanabe) trying to fix up Tampopo’s ramen shop. 

Tampopo is a vibrant woman running a ramen shop with lots of beautiful smiles, earnest attempts at improvement and so much love towards everyone and everything. She is one of my favorite characters in the movie as she is so cheerful and wonderful throughout the film. 

This film has many characteristics of a classical Western in that it has a strong vagabond protagonist trying to better the people around them, Goro wears a cowboy hat, and loves to fight to make a point. “Tampopo” also is a comedy. It satirizes the tropes of Westerns and makes fun of many cultural customs like eating quietly.

By the end of the film we are in love with the whole cast of characters and rolling around laughing because of the ridiculous behaviors, scenes and gags that we get to witness on Tampopo’s journey to becoming a ramen master.

Serving 2 – Music

“Tampopo” blends jazzy instrumental scenes with classical scores to elicit emotions like awe, love, joy and comedic shock. The composer and sound workers for this film created a life-like city while adding in sound effects to enhance the noodle-slurping madness that makes this move so appealing. 

There’s also a great scene with a group of unhoused people from the city singing a beautiful song in appreciation for their one true ramen master who taught them to appreciate food. 

Plate 3 – A Sip of Sake before We Go

“Tampopo”, a lot like “Monty Python” and other satirical movies, has many gag scenes that aren’t focused on the characters of the movie, but do have to do with the general theme of the film. Many such scenes include an old woman fondling soft items in a grocery store, a Charlie Chaplin-esque scene focused on sneaking into a kitchen to make a beautiful egg and rice dish, a sick mother dying and her family eating her meal she made as a sign of respect and a few other naughty scenes played out by the couple from the beginning of the film. 

I don’t know what y’all look for in films but if you want comedy, food, music, emotion and anything else, “Tampopo” is the place to go. It’s easy to watch on HBO (or other places if you’re not willing to pay for a subscription…). There are many unmentioned treats in this film because there’s so much to explore and love. 

New Album Review

“Only Constant” by GEL

GEL is a band that has recently emerged onto the hxc and punk scenes within the past couple years. They’ve released two EPs and now, their first album, “Only Constant”, back in March of this year. This newest release has a runtime of sixteen minutes and twenty-nine seconds. It features a unique blend of hardcore punk and metal. 

The band is currently composed of Sami Kaiser (vocals), Anthony Webster (guitar), Bobko (bass), Madison Nave (guitar) and Zach Miller (drums). GEL’s previous EPs are “Shock Therapy” released in 2022 and “Violent Closure” released in 2021. 

As for their sound, I would consider them to have one foot in a pool of molten, hardcore punk and the other foot sinking in the sludge of metal. They are able to get the edgy lyrics and lighter vocals from punk, while drawing up the guitar and deeper sounds from metal very well.

Only Constant” in Detail:


I have to say this track is by far my favorite from the album. It’s longer than the rest by at least a whole minute and features instrumentals that can induce some heart palpitations. The quick bursts from the guitar and drums jolt my head. It’s a great album closer and it feels like it has the most ties to metal in the album with coarse vocals. 

The Way Out” 

Next on my list of likes from this album is “The Way Out”. It is short, but definitely not sweet. Fifty-three seconds of raw energy compelling me to headbang and mosh wherever I am. Also to note in this track are the lyrics:

“I’m tugging on the bone don’t want them to be known

Feelings come in quick – brace for your turn and hit

Still waters thickly sit, beneath the buoyant brink”

Lyrics from “The Way Out” by GEL

I love the consonance on the third line with ‘beneath the buoyant brink” and the extended use of water and pressure imagery. This lyricism is smart with tons of emotion and thought poured into it, so I love being able to appreciate the band’s ability to make it enthralling too. 


This was not one of my favorite tracks. Unfortunately they can’t all be winners. Of course, it’s not bad, but it lacks the same appeal and attention grabbing that many of the other songs have on this release. “Fortified” blends into the background of this album being surrounded by “Honed Blade” and “Attainable”.

GEL-ing Up:

This is a great first full length release for GEL. I think they’ve got some unique flavors and sounds that will (hopefully) continue to grow in strength as they progress forward into their future. 

I don’t really know who reads these posts, but be sure to form your own opinions based on your listening experience. Don’t take my silly perspective on this genre as credible or incredulous. All this is my view on how this music makes me feel. If you like this music, cool. If you hate this music, cool. Just try your best to take in what these artists and bands are putting forth for us, the consumers, to enjoy.

Classic Album Review Local Music

“Demo” by Slug Salter

Raleigh’s hardcore (hxc) scene is wonderfully diverse as I mentioned in my first article of this year. Slug Salter’s appearance on the NC hxc scene as a power violence and death metal band hasn’t made too many big waves or headlines just yet, but you should be prepared.

This three piece band from Raleigh has one demo tape currently released into the wild world of music. It was released a little over a year ago and has a run time of twelve minutes and forty-two seconds with seven tracks. I know, I know. This isn’t very lengthy, but the quality of music in a few of these tracks makes this band worth listening to.

I’ve seen that they’ve had shows at the Pour House in downtown Raleigh and a few other venues on their Instagram posts, but I haven’t had the chance to see them live myself. As they’re still a young band, they don’t headline many, if any, shows yet. 

Below, I have laid out three standout tracks from this demo, but feel free to check out the whole thing on their Bandcamp page or Spotify page. And, as a precaution, this band uses very foul language, so plug your ears if you hate “dirty words”.

Check Out This “Demo”:


Jarring and torturous drum beats concuss your head slam after slam into drywall. Envision that and you can picture just how much violence is in this track. It’s absolute god-fearing insanity which chills and thrills the skin. I love the mix of high and low pitched vocals and the sickly, nasty guitar. 

The name “RAT TORTURE” is horrifically dark. Why would anyone want to listen to anything like that? It’s the peace and quiet after this track ends that helps me appreciate this kind of music. Strange moments of absolute misery then abrupt peace are all too common, and I think music like this helps us figure out how to navigate these moments with emotional wisdom and odd clarity. 


Another hxc track that has a ridiculous soundbyte that leads into rapidly evolving chaos. I’m not gonna lie, I cannot decipher the words in this song at all, but I love how evil and angry it is. The band is able harness their sounds of chaos very well and use it to create a terrifying landscape of vast horrors capable of inciting mass hysteria. Perfect.


If this demo were to have a title track, I’d say this is the one. It has the most noticeable and constant rhythm out of any of the tracks and a bit of a longer intro compared to the others too. As it’s the longest song on the album (a whole two minutes and thirty-five seconds), it can take the liberty of expressing a few more unique instrumental sounds without vocals or anything laid overtop. 

Any Final Words?

Hey, if you’ve got thirteen minutes to spare, or need to quickly explode and vent some anger, I’ve found Slug Salter’s “Demo” to be a great emotional catalyst. Don’t go hurting anyone, but be sure to get your feelings out there and heard. 

It’s been great to be able to focus on small hxc bands in the Raleigh area so far this semester. I’ve found quite a few other bands that I am excited to explore in-depth in the next few weeks on this blog segment, so be sure to keep an eye out for these posts every week.

Local Music

Now Spinning: To Live a Lie Records

Why would I take time out of my day to talk about an independent record label? It’s probably due to the similar urge that drives me away from big name grocery stores and into small locally managed markets and stores to buy produce – I want to know the people that live around me even better. 

To Live A Lie Records (TLAL) is a local Raleigh based record label (and record store) run by Will Butler. They focus on cultivating sounds from the grindcore, fastcore and a variety of other delightful hardcore subgenres. 

Now, I wouldn’t want to spread any words about a local business that I found boring, but To Live  A Lie harbors a truly unique sound coming from hardcore (HXC) around the world. In an interview, Butler mentions the reason he started this label was to help bands like his own to get their sounds into the wild (CVLT Nation interview). 

Who is TLAL?

Will Butler founded TLAL in Raleigh in 2005, which makes it a whopping 18 years old. Butler, as mentioned in an interview, started this label all on his own, working an “adult job” and putting money from that into this business (Idioteq interview). 

Some of the big bands that TLAL has worked with or works with are Crom, ACxDC (also known as Antichrist Demoncore) and Fading Signal (local Raleigh band), and their more recent projects include Realize (Arizona industrial metal) and Endless Swarm (blisteringly speedy grindcore). All of these artists and bands can be found on TLAL’s Bandcamp page.

I absolutely love the music this label continues to find and release. Butler has done a wonderful job of finding a niche genre and working with artists to produce high quality products year after year. One of the joys of looking through TLAL’s catalog is noticing where some of these bands come from. There are bands from Michigan, Indonesia, Turkey and more.

What does TLAL offer besides good tunes?

TLAL’s website might be a bit outdated and slow, but the content on there is wonderful. There are release updates and posts regularly by Butler. Sometimes there are touring dates posted. Generally, there’s an abundant wealth of information available to anyone that spends some time digging and pilfering the nuggets of gold littered throughout. 

Also, TLAL has a brick and mortar record shop in Raleigh, which I still need to go check out myself. I don’t know how much money I’d be draining out of my wallet if I stepped foot in the store, so I’m a little scared to visit. 

Butler’s To Live A Lie records has its place cemented in not only Raleigh HXC history, but also the history of the genres that TLAL releases. Independent record labels like this one support so many deserving artists because they actually care about the art and emotions being put into the records that are produced.

TLAL’s discography spans a deep 18 years, and I cannot wait to swim my way through the slurry of screaming sounds over the next few months. It’ll be like panning for gold when everything glitters and catches my eye.

Band/Artist Profile

Itchy Kitty: Cats in Spotlight

So, Itchy Kitty, a wonderfully perverse band name, clawed its way into my ears through chance a few years ago when I watched Built to Spill’s performance at Cat’s Cradle way, way back in 2022. I wrote a little about their performance and who some of the members were in this article, but I haven’t stopped listening to their music. 

Their harsh sounds and self described “bubblegum p***” genre labels got me addicted to their music and kept me returning for more and more of their sounds (quote from The Spokesman-Review). Itchy Kitty has four releases within their seven-ish year existence as a band and focuses their sound within the punk genre by using shrill, explosive vocals, cranked-up guitar and heart-thumpin’ drum beats. 

Who’s this Band?

The members of Itchy Kitty are made up of Ami Elston (guitar, bass, vocals), Naomi Eisenbrey (bass, vocals), Michael (Sug) Tschirgi (drums, percussion), and their guitarist known as Catman. They are currently signed with CORPORAT Records and they’re based out of Spokane, Washington.

Itchy Kitty, as previously mentioned, has four releases out-n’-about, three of which are found on Spotify and all can be found on their Bandcamp. Their releases (in order of earliest to latest release) are “Careless Whisker” from 2016, “Mr. Universe” from 2018, “Under the Covers” from 2020, and “Feargasm” also from 2020.

Album and Sounds

“Feargasm” (EP)

A few the most memorable tracks from this EP are “Fish Money” and “Sexy Requiem” These two tracks differ almost violently, as one is a classic sounding punk track with a strange subject matter (fish money), and the other is an eight minute track with calm, wispy vocals and ethereal sounds. 

“Under the Covers” (EP)

This EP focuses on covers from four different bands. My two favorites are “Sonic Reducer” and the “Psycho Killer” cover. I was lucky enough to see the “Psycho Killer” cover live at the Built to Spill show I mentioned earlier, and Eisenberry’s method of signing this track led to her convulsing on the stage floor in a horrific manner. Itchy Kitty pulls new electric emotions from both these tracks, which I found added to my appreciation of the original sounds. 

“Mr. Universe” (LP)

In this LP I found “Size Queen”, “Bore” and “Walk Towards Work”  to be exhilarating additions to their discography and band’s sound. “Size Queen” focuses on a feminine perspective of body shaming particular parts of a male body with good humor and thrash-y sounds, while “Bore” opens up the album with scratchy vocals and throwing insults towards the boring folks that infest various parts of life. 

“Careless Whisker” (LP)

And in Itchy Kitty’s first LP (that’s available on streaming services), the top couple of tracks I’ve fallen in love with are “Tomcat Society”, “Year of the Slut” and “NoMe”. “Year of the Slut” stands out the most to me on this album. It feels like the backbone of what Itchy Kitty wants to sound like. The lyrics are comedic and crass, while the music exudes an air of wonderful ‘moshability’

Itchy Kitty’s main drawback for me is that they don’t have more content out yet. This band is quite young and I cannot wait to see what they continue to do. On their Instagram page they’ve been pretty active with tours and concerts, so hopefully once they settle down for a few months they’ll be back in the studio recording some new “bubblegum p***”.

New Album Review

Memorrhage’s “Memorrhage” Album Review

ALBUM: “Memorrhage”


LABEL: Big Money Cybergrind

BEST TRACKS: “Memory Leak”, “Exit”, “Brain Wield”

FCC: Some tracks have explicit content.

The rage and passion in Memorrhage’s self-titled release still has its dirty, disastrous cybernetic probes stuck in my brain after listening to it three months ago. The Nü-Metal inspired sounds and highly electronic atmosphere the whole album exudes fits into a niche of metal music I never considered I needed for my ears. 

Memorrhage is just a side project done by prolific metal artist Gary Brents. He has been (and still is) a part of Cara Neir, Gonemage, and has been part of multiple other bands over the years. Brents experimented with a multitude of music genres to achieve the sound of Brents’ “tribute to growing up with nu-metal in the 90s/00s” (As stated on Memorrhage’s Bandcamp bio).

But enough about that. Let’s dive into the album.

“Memory Leak”

Each song on this album tells its own narrative. Each is in their own Sci-Fi cyber-hellscape. To start the album off, “Memory Leak” is telling us about a rogue videogame entity wreaking havoc in the digital world through a data leak. Bizarre, I know, but look (and listen of course) to these lyrics:

“It starts with a flicker and an itch

In my dreams and the corner of my eye

Then it’s all over my skin, it’s scalding

A million voices screaming

And I can’t make them stop

I can see the circuits breaking

It lost its mind to technicolor

Dreams of cloaking schemes”

Lyrics taken from “Memory Leak” by Memorrhage

Memorrhage’s horrid beauty forces itself through your ears and makes you understand the emotion and artistry of pain coming from this odd perspective. The brutal sounds drew me into this track at first and then diving into the strange world building in the lyricism made me go slack-jawed and wide eyed in appreciation of the thought and love poured into “Memory Leak”.


And that doesn’t change throughout the whole album. Each song is filled with love and raw emotion that drives further from your expectations at every turn. In “Exit” the pitter-patter, then builds to explosive vocal screams is so good at exciting me for the ‘boom’ I experience at the beginning of the song every time. Any time I want to feel an explosive force of energy course its way under my skin and into my nerves, I flip on this track and start jittering just at the start. 

“Brain Wield”

So… track eight of this album brings us to a particularly heavy variety of instrument and technical diversity compared to the other tracks on this album. “Brain Wield” is listed as the track with the most guest appearances with a total of nine different artists playing a role in the creation of this track.

From Mr. Rager, a DJ makin’ brain ripping record scratches, to a slew of metal vocals coming from Brent’s connections in the industry, “Brain Wield” seems to be the most technically advanced track and I believe it pays off in a big way. 

Memorrhage combines Nü-Metal, some glitch elements, and one of my favorite 90’s genres: turntablism. “Brain Wield” also has a few spoken narrative elements weaved in to help tell the story of this song too (you can read a synopsis of it on the Bandcamp page that is linked above).

All of these additions to this one track are wonderful tools to aid in storytelling and don’t inhibit listeners from obtaining the emotional wasteland this album continues to shove into our ears. 

The Other “Scraps”:

This isn’t to say the other tracks on this album are lame or don’t have the same pull the previous three do, but the magnetism of the aforementioned tracks are so great that I don’t have enough time and space to dive into what makes each song in this album so sickeningly pleasing to me. 

I’ll instead give quick one-liner description for a few tracks:

Reek” is just that: an offensive odor that doesn’t leave your nose but still leaves you addicted to it.

Finesse” includes high pitched electronic bleeps and heart stopping pauses leaving my adrenaline coming to jolting starts and stops.

Utility” has the classic Nü-Metal choruses mixed with hard record scratches and alluring space opera ballad content.


This whole album is a unique take on the Nü-Metal genre and I think it does a great job of improving and inventing new sounds within the genre that might’ve inhibited it from reaching greater renown in the past. The glitch-techno aspects of this album are huge draws to me as it feels like a ginormous Sci-Fi adventure in a gorier version of a “Blade Runner” type universe (but far more interesting, sorry Philip K. Dick). 

Memorrhage’s opening album holds great promise to inspire old and new artists alike to return to old, worn-out genres of metal that could use some new sounds and approaches. I am excited to see where Gary Brents takes this project and to see the impact it might have on future sounds in metal.


Dipping Toes into Raleigh’s Local Scenes

Hello all! I am Ben/ DJ chef. I have done some writing for WKNC’s blog before, but these next few months I am going to be doing something different than my usual variety of articles.

Once a week I will be focusing on an aspect of Raleigh or the surrounding Triangle area’s local artists, bands, and venues. I will be exploring what makes these performances or places a unique staple to this section of the Carolinas.


Last summer I had tons of fun writing a silly article about some of Raleigh’s parks, and since then I wanted to do similar articles by exploring the Triangle’s music scene via its venues, sounds, and smells (of food of course).

I have some specific spaces in mind that I want to get to know better and to share my experience at a few of Raleigh’s staple music venues, like The Pour House, which has been one of my favorite spots to take friends and go see smaller shows in a low-key environment. I witnessed a wonderful country and americana performance by Joshua Hedley and Lauren Morrow. Also, I had my ears shredded to a fine liquid by one of the loudest performances I’ve had the pleasure of being present at with AUGURS at The Pour House in May. 

A few venues I plan to experience in full over the next few weeks are Slims, a little bar and very tight space for the best intimate crowd experiences; Local 506, a Chapel Hill spot that many hardcore (HC) bands perform at; The Pinhook, a Durham venue that I’ve been to once and really enjoyed – it reminded me The Pour House; and of course I will do my best to visit more places I haven’t heard of yet too.

Record Companies:

Another aspect of this series I want to dive into are the local record companies based in the Triangle area. I will see and experience the investments people are making in music that are right here in this area. For example, Sorry State Records is based right here in Raleigh and I’d love to pick up on the pulse of music they encourage, and what kind of sounds they want to blossom.

Local Music:

Of course I want to continue unfolding my love for HC bands around here too because this section of North Carolina has great potential for an even larger audience for these bands and artists. I believe we already have a great foothold in this genre with bands like Fading Signal, Super Reg, and Corrosion of Conformity

But don’t worry, I won’t be focusing solely on HC and metal, but I’ll return to my roots and spread my enjoyment of local artists with some country twang, bubbly pop, or even smooth jazzy styles. 

I really want to show how much Raleigh’s music scene has to offer those who want to explore it. This city and the entire Triangle area is full of a wide variety of folks that help keep the multitude of flavors swirling and shifting to new directions. Hopefully y’all want to adventure forth into this music scene with me.

Concert Review Festival Coverage

Hopscotch ’22 and Cosmic Jazz

Only a few other performances at Hopscotch ‘22 blew me away like the Perfume Genius set, and they were Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 and Makaya McCraven’s cosmic, explosive jazz performances. 

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

The Friday night of Seun Kuti & Egypt 80’s set had the perfect taste and feeling of a crispy cool Fall beginning, looking back, it was probably due to the rain coming the next day. Their show was an hour before Perfume Genius went on, so I had plenty of time to enjoy my fill of Seun Kuti. 

As I sat with a cheap, soggy, broccoli pizza in my lap at Moore Square, Kuti & Egypt 80 started their show. The first trumpet blast could have knocked me backwards. It shot out of Kuti’s lips, bewitching the crowd into movement. Soon everyone and the stage were swaying in the night breeze as Seun Kuti played “Theory of Goat and Yam”.

I feel as if I lost the next 30 minutes of my life through a magical time warp this band created with their music. Stars were twinkling to drum beats, and even the moon was smiling down on all of us as we experienced some of the most special music I’ve heard in my life. It eventually inspired me to write a short poem before I got up to join the swaying masses in front of the stage:

The band on stage

waved to the moon.

As it smiles downward,

reflecting warmth of the sun

they made


poem by the author.

Then, as their set continued Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 kept layering magnificent tracks and solos on top of each other. They played “African Soldier” and “You Can Run”, which were lovely to experience, especially with Kuti’s vibrant blank and red attire. He jumped and we jumped. He swayed and we swayed. Kuti and the band moved the crowd effortlessly, which created a sense of endless joy.

After Seun Kuti & Egypt 80’s performance I was certain I would never see anything comparable to that experience again, but I was very wrong. 

Makaya McCraven

On Saturday, it rained all day. I went through two shirts, shorts and shoes, but the weather didn’t go nearly far enough to stop me from attending most events that day. Makaya McCraven’s set was set up the same way Seun Kuti’s was, it was an hour before headliner, Kim Gordon. 

With a rain soaked field I did not plop in the grass for this performance. I stood and grooved along with a surprisingly large crowd for the weather. From the stage to the sound booth it was lined with jazz and “cultural synthesizer” (as Makaya McCraven calls his music) fans. 

Instead of an opening trumpet blast, I was rocked into a rhythmic wonderland by drum beats. McCraven is a “drummer, producer & beat scientist” as stated by his website, so it only makes sense that he opens with undulating beat patterns and crisp drums. 

I went into McCraven’s performance without knowing a thing and it still had a profound effect on me. With a medley of instruments and McCraven’s drums on fire constantly it was hard for me to split mid set and watch Kim Gordon’s set.

By some miracle or the beautiful beat gods smiling down on me, I caught the last two songs of McCraven’s set after Kim Gordon had finished. They had played for about an hour and a half straight all while having a large crowd and Kim Gordon’s show going concurrently. 

The energy the entire band put into this performance was heartwarming. They shot forth fumbling chaotic noise and made another impression of live music I won’t forget. 

Off on Your Voyage

Both Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 and Makaya McCraven’s shows made Hopscotch extremely memorable for me. I want to experience live music like theirs everytime I see a show now, but I know it won’t happen.

Being able to freely give love through that sound must mean these two groups have reached a cosmic understanding with the universe I can only hope to achieve.

Festival Coverage

Triumphant Hopscotch ’22 Performances

Last week’s Hopscotch 2022 had some big names in indie music, and their performances were electric. Perfume Genius gave us his heart, Kim Gordon shredded my ear drums, Dawn Richard got me groovin’ in new ways and Black Country, New Road had epic sounds exuding from every one of their members. 

Instead of elaborating on any music festival set up or random whatnot, I will jump right into the artist and bands’ performances:

Perfume Genius:

With lots of personal bias, I have to say Perfume Genius’ set was my favorite one I saw at Hopscotch this year. Mike Hadreas slowly and softly destroyed the stage with his magnetic vocals and stage presence. 

Mike Hadreas with arms extended and a a taught microphone cord between them.
Hadreas slings his mic cord across the stage. Photo by Doris Enochs.

Opening with “Your Body Changes Everything”, he immediately captivated the audience not only with smooth, hard hitting beats, but also with his suave, baby-blue, tailored suit and white button down. He constantly switched between old tracks and some of his new, popular releases. 

Hadreas’ rendition of “Jason” and “Normal Song” were melancholic and angelic as his voice drifted down and graced us all. For “Normal Song”, he shooed everyone off stage except Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) who played a saintly guitar and accompanied Hadreas’ with their own backup vocals.

Mike Hadreas bent over with his faced scrunched up belting his songs into a mic.
Hadreas giving an emotional performance. Photo by Doris Enochs.

To finish off the night, Mike Hadreas brought out a light, silky white sheet and played a few of his newer tracks from “Ugly Season”. His sheet was a mask and tool of pure beauty as it covered his face and floated in the air, almost reverberating from the sheer power of the performance.

I have never seen an artist efficiently play some of their best music on stage in my life. There weren’t any hiccups or pauses throughout the show, and Hadreas wore a brilliant blazing smile the entire time. If I could continuously relive that entire performance, I would. 

Black Country, New Road:

I was scared of the Black Country, New Road set. I didn’t know how good the band was going to feel on stage after their initial lead singer left, but my fears were almost immediately dispelled. 

Every single member of this band brought some sort of key talent that helped make the whole band shine like stars. May Kershaw (keys and vocals), Tyler Hyde (bass and vocals), and Charlie Wayne (drums) were outstanding. These members specifically stole the show for me. 

Kershaw’s keys and vocal mixture brought an antsy and dramatic flow to the band’s sound that was beautiful and unique. Wayne’s drums were attacked relentlessly, which brought forth an epic beat. And, Hyde’s bass was the background glue that held everyone together perfectly. 

One of my favorite moments during their performance was when Kershaw had a long solo performance, which is still too elegant for me to put into words appropriately. Her soft piano opening led into focused, serene vocals and a chaotic, triumphant closing act with the entire band joining in. 

Dawn Richard:

Dawn Richard in neon yellow clutching the mic stand and singing.
Dawn Richard with backup dancer in the background giving an earth shaking performance. Photo by Doris Enochs.

As you might be able to tell from the above photo, Dawn Richard’s stage presence was unmatched. With her incredible backup vocalists and dancers, she mesmerized the crowd by merely stepping on stage. 

Richard performed a few of her hit songs like “Bussifame” and “Nostalgia”, but her true power came in getting the crowd (including me) to start grooving and warming up to the music. Preceding her set, I noticed a majority of concert goers had locked hips and knees for most sets. Many people only bobbed their heads a teensy bit. 

Then, Dawn Richard took the stage and began to set the night on fire with some delicious vocals, bars and beats. The neon suits and flashing lights were like eye candy, and her funk-inspired, bass-bumping tunes eventually got the crowd all sorts groovin’.

I’d like to think her set was the heat that made Perfume Genius’ set really explode into a wealth of success, so thank you Dawn Richard for that. 

Kim Gordon: 

Kim Gordon’s performance physically rocked my head and made my eardrums ring for hours after she had finished. Unfortunately, going into her performance I had not sampled enough of her work, and I really wish I had done so. 

Gordon’s raspy, sometimes scratchy vocals were intoxicating. Her jumpy and stalky motions used on stage sometimes made for a wonderfully terrifying sight. Honestly, the horrifying sounds and glitchy art she brought to Hopscotch was a sight to behold. 

A lot of those words might make the performance seem unsavory, but I had a blast watching her make her art. Her musical beauty comes from the discord she delivers us. 

Last Ticket:

If you ever have the opportunity to see any of these wonderful people live, I highly recommend doing so. All of their performances had a wonderful uniqueness that made each artist more loved and cherished. 

Of course, I wish I could have gone back in time and appropriately learned all the words for all of these artists’ songs (besides Perfume Genius because I got them on lock already), but I can’t. It doesn’t mean I was unable to enjoy their sets. I thought all of them were perfect for who the artist or band is.

Concert Preview

A Peek at the Hopscotch Menu

Hello and welcome to a preview of my coverage of Hopscotch 2022. The Hopscotch schedule is live on the website and I will be doing my best to watch as many artists as I can this year.

Most of my focus will be on artists and bands that I have covered here in the past like Perfume Genius and Yaya Bey.

Performances To Look Out For:

Some new artists, well new to me, that I am excited to see are Courtney Barnett, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, MJ Lenderman and Black Haus

Courtney Barnett is an Australian indie rocker who just released a new album, “Things Take Time, Take Time”. She is headlining Thursday night and her calm style reminds me of Big Thief, so it should be a fun time.

Next is Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, a Nigerian band with a focus on the afrobeat and jazz genre. They released an album a few years ago called “Night Dreamer”, which they did all in one take. I’ve only listened to a few songs of theirs so far, but I am itching to see them live. They will blow everyone away with their performance on Friday.

Another promising performance is MJ Lenderman’s, the guitarist of Wednesday, and he has released a solo album this year that has gotten much acclaim, “Boat Songs”. Our very own Eilee reviewed this album a few months ago. Be sure to check it out if you’re interested in seeing him play on Thursday or Friday night. 

The last band I am pumped to witness is Black Haus. This Greensboro, NC band mixes electric indie beats and grooves with wavy and beautiful vocals. I expect Black Haus to get the crowd on their feet and grooving on Saturday at the Pour House. 

Of course I won’t be limiting myself to the above artists, but with so many artists playing I won’t be able to see them all. I hope to find new passion for bands and artists I have yet to listen to.

Also, if you don’t have the money to attend the festival itself be sure to check out Hopscotch Day parties happening all around Raleigh.