Check out DJ Coordinator John W’s weekend at Hopscotch!
"This past Friday night was a damn good night for music. Weather was good,Labor Day festivities had drawn to a close, and the Hopscotch music festival graced Raleigh with its sonic presence. When I arrived at the festival on Friday St. Vincent was already about halfway through her set. I’ve always been a fan of St. Vincent’s whacky and off-kilter style, and the second half of the set was full of this zaniness. Whether it was via her funky guitar playing, or via small dance steps that resembled the choreography of a Deerhoof set, St. Vincent helped start off my night in a weird sort of way.
Following St. Vincent I stuck around the city plaza for a bit to hear the beginning of Spoon’s set. I am not too familiar with Spoon’s music, but I liked their style and I thought they played a solid show. Of particular note would be guitarist Alex Fischel, whose frenetic, spasmodic style of playing bore an odd resemblance to the style of Pere Ubu. While his performance may not have complimented that of the rest of the band, I couldn’t help but feel as if he added some much needed weirdness to the show as he skittered across the stage.
Up next for the night was the band White Life, who played a very fun, and very danceable set at Tir Na Nog. White Life is another band that I knew next to nothing about before seeing, but I couldn’t help but have a blast while dancing to their synth-laden, bass fueled jams. Although their music may be lacking in originality, there is something to be said for vocalists Jonathan and Emily Ehrens, who would tag team vocals while the other went to dance amongst the audience.
Following White Life was the act I was most looking forward to for the night: Circuit de Yeux. I must say despite the somewhat absurd expectations I had set for this show, Circuit de Yeux did not disappoint in the slightest. For a large duration of the set I was isolated in a realm of luscious acoustic noise and deep, undulating vocals. Circuit de Yeux brought it, and just when I thought I was in the clear that last track hit, and it hit hard. Somewhere between the point in the song where Haley Fohr (Circuit de Yeux) was sitting in a chair and strumming a guitar, and the point in which she was standing up bellowing down into the mic, I lost it. This was musical bliss. Growls and shouts were produced that I had never heard from a female vocalist, and the emotions conveyed in those final minutes were something transcending despair or anger or humiliation. There was something in that last song that was simply ineffable, some primordial force that cannot be named. And while that all may sound pretentious, its about as close as I can get to describing what was for me a near perfect set.
After the Circuit de Yeux set I was simply at a loss for what to do. But after a few denied entries from the 21+ venues I decided to check out Mark McGuire at the Lincoln Theater. Let me set something straight, Mark McGuire is really good at what he does. His new age soundscapes are filled to the brim with vast expanses of meditative sound, and he had clearly perfected the methodical layering of his tracks. However, after about 30 minutes I was ready to move again, and Mark McGuire was not the show for that.
So it was about this time in the night that I set my sights on Priests. Priests is a four piece punk outfit form the D.C. area that were loud and abrasive in all of the right ways. Performing around 45 minutes of fast, angry rock featuring politically charged lyrics and an energetic stage presence, the D.C. band had all of the makings of a phenomenal punk act and even a little more. Front woman Katie Greer revealed an impressive repertoire of whines, wails, and shouts that would make Kathleen Hanna blush, and the delivery as a whole never felt obnoxious or preachy. The sincerity of the act was made felt the entire set, and it was clear that this was a group that knew what exactly what they wanted so say and were knowledgeable enough to say it well.
Finally I headed over to CAM to hear Nguzunguzu close out my night with an impressive of dance tracks. This was a set that ranged anywhere from faster footwork style tracks to slower, almost eerie post-dubstep experiments. What was most impressive was how Nguzunguzu would make these transitions between a broad range of styles in a way that was hardly perceptible. It was also interesting seeing the different styles that the duo bring to the set. The nuances of their performance styles and tastes kept the show more engaging and unpredictable.”