Virtual Bourgeois

Just An Analog Guy Trying to Upgrade For a Digital World

Archive for September, 2018

Hopscotch 2018

Posted by Gerald on September 9, 2018

September 6 – Got to Raleigh and checked into the hotel by about 6 PM. Similar phone problems as last year, but that’s it on that subject. I’m still getting a sense of where everything is, but there was this nice feeling of familiarity as I walked around downtown Raleigh. I went to City Plaza and met up with the gang. I bypassed the State Farm tent, although adding some Whole Life coverage during the music festival did seem tempting. I was less successful at evading the girl giving out free stuff from some place that does really nice haircuts for men who are younger than I am and much more attractive than I’ve ever been. Stayed a City Plaza for a couple of shows, then off the Slim’s. As usual Slim’s was massively overcrowded, too hot, but worth it for who was playing. I managed to get nice spots close close to or right next to the stage. I’m learning the etiquette for live shows and I’ve gotten past my being overly concerned about being in people’s way. I usually leave a bit of space in front of me (for a while) so people can push in, and I’ll happily let them do so (especially women, lest the spirit of Kathleen Hanna appear and chastise me). There is a line in the crowd between the people who really want to see the show and the people who just want to be where a show is playing. I am on or forward of that line. If it is possible to move around me and still see, I get to move forward. If you are talking during the damn show, I get to move in front of you if there is a space. Grayson and i stuck around through the last set at Slim’s and then went to have a beer at Ruby Deluxe. That place felt strangely like home base to me.

Real Estate – I was settling into the vibe and finding people so I’m afraid I barely remember their set. I recall liking what I heard, but there it is.

The Flaming Lips – Big and weird, of course. I shook Wayne Coyne’s hand as he passed me on a neon swan. I must say I got a little teary when they covered Space Oddity.

Das Drip – I ran out of sentimentality during the Flaming Lips show, so i was ready for some punk with an attitude. I was about to get my wish for the next three bands. This is the only one I didn’t get a photo of. The five foot and maybe 100 lbs. lead singer banged into my chest with a “Fuck you” sneer written across her face. I knew I was in the right place.

Deaf Wish – I’d been looking forward to seeing them and was not disappointed. Fast loud and raw. Got to talk to the lead singer for about a minute. Dude was even sweatier than me.

Warm Bodies – Grayson talked me into staying and I’m glad he did. I enjoyed their energy combined with the affected exasperated disgust of the lead singer.

The Love Language – Not sure this one counts. We only saw one song when we walked over after Warm Bodies.



September 7 – After not getting in until 2 AM, I woke up at 7:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Until the gang stirred I just sat in my room drinking those free hotel coffees, ate a couple oatmeal creme cookies (I came prepared), and watching most of two movies (American Graffitti and K-19 The Widowmaker). We grabbed brunch (sorta) at Raleigh Times and then spent most of the day drinking beer at Ruby Deluxe. Saw two of the acts there, but also just spent a lot of time outside where it was very hot. It is always the smokers I want to hang around, so I spend a lot of time in the outdoor spaces. Like last year, my Hopscotch ensembles were based around geek t-shirts, so I’m in a position to have some of those discussions at odd times. Eventually I went to sit with the gang in their party suite where we watched Speedy Ortiz from high above while enjoying being air-conditioned. When we decided to head back out, I went down to my room, and that is when IT happened.

I’m standing, somewhat drunk, in the elevator and in walks Ian Svenonius… and I though, “Oh, shit, that’s Ian Svenonius!” Then I shook his hand and started burbling about how much I was looking forward to his show. He was nice about it, as one would expect from someone who has had many of these encounters. I didn’t ask for a selfie (I AM in my 50s people) or throw-up on him, so I feel I acquitted myself well enough by comparison with some of what he’s dealt with.

Went back out to City Plaza in the evening. As people left to go find bathrooms, free bourbon samples, and other things I was left alone with Sam. Sam’s boyfriend (who I don’t really know either) is friends with my friend Eddie. We had LOTS to talk about. After a long awkward silence I risked increasing the awkwardness by point out how awkward this was. We got talking. She gave me a Reese’s Cup later, so I think we bonded. Went on to Fletcher from there. Fletcher Auditorium in the Duke Energy Art thing is a traditional performance space backed by money. It is the kind of place you go to see Paula Poundstone (who I think was actually coming). It has seats that you are expected to use, mighty air-conditioning, and relatively pathogen-free bathrooms that work – and I’m talking all of the stalls, here. It is a different world from most of the other places. I keep expecting someone to come throw me in my sweaty Star Wars t-shirt out the door. On the far side from that is Deep South, where I saw Escape-ism. That place feels like it should be having some knife-fights going on over a drunk blonde who is screaming “That’s it, git him baby!” Yet last year I watched an African-American shoe-gaze band there and this time it was the studied weirdness of Escape-ism. Before getting back to the room, I got hit up by four pan-handlers. I gave all my cash to the first guy and refused to take the last to an ATM. Sorry, I’m not that trusting.

??? – I don’t know the name, it wasn’t on the day shows list. It was a trio doing a kind of rap-funk-rock thing. She was good.

House and Land – Two women from Asheville playing Americana. They were excellent. I’m pretty sure they raise organic vegetables in a holistic and non-exploitative style when not playing.

Thundercat – Magic (what else can I add?)

Grizzly Bear – Anytime you can combine, indie rock, folk rock, psychedelia, and experimental in a description, you are nearing my wheel house. Loved them.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – This is either a total mess decorated with cultural appropriation or it is a bit awesome, I’m inclined toward awesome. Guy shredding guitar while wearing Kabuki make-up and the (similarly made-up) lead singer howls what sounds like native American chants playing what I think was an Okinawan hand drum.

Circuit Des Yeux – This woman’s voice gave me chills. I want to live in her voice.

Escape-ism – Magic. Venue was not great, though


September 8 – Spent most of the day at Kings. I was waiting for Eric Bachmann. Several local bands that didn’t really say much to me, but had a good time anyway. While I was there I kept thinking how I used to find a crowd like that to be the very definition of hell. I guess I needed to find something that made it worthwhile for me. I found a spot on the bar and held that damn thing! I needed some AC and a place to lean after the day before. While there I had an odd experience for me. I met a guy named Josh who was about two or three inches taller than me. We spent a bit bonding over our tallness before letting each other go on with our lives. After Bachmann played we went downstairs to Neptune for a set and then got some food. Then we went to hang in the room while watching a set out the window. The evening had some tight scheduling – Liz Phair was playing and then the MC50 min City Plaza, but Eddie was playing in Fletcher. There was plenty of time to see Liz Phair, but it looked like we might have enough time to see one or two songs from the MC50 before booking over to Fletcher – but she started late and we didn’t have the time. However, we were actually able to book back to City Plaza after Eddie played and catch the last couple of songs from the MC50.  At this point an attractive young lady who, in her heels, was almost my height, approached me to ask if I wanted a free pass to “The Men’s Club”.  Not sure why she thought the sweaty bald grey guy in the nerd t-shirt would be interested in such a thing?  He wasn’t, though.  Afterwards we headed for Slim’s and it was quite full, so we stood in line. The way this works, if you have the (more expensive) VIP pass you get in before those with GA passes (like us) – so there are two lines. I only found this annoying when one guy with a VIP wristband walks up and asks the guy on the door who was playing. The guy had to look up the name, which obviously meant nothing to VIP dude, but he went in anyway. If you don’t give two shits, why not cut some slack to the people actually waiting? Oh well. Jon got in and then I did a couple minutes after. Unlike everyone else in line, I was not asked for my ID. Hmmm… After that we went back to Fletcher for a set and then called it quits.

Tegucigapalan – Of the local bands that day, I liked these guys the best. Straight up rock.

Sneaks – This woman said she was doing her first solo show ever, and i think that showed. It kept seeming to me she was trying to react off people who weren’t there.

Joyero – Ben Folds Five meets Moby, kinda?

Eric Bachmann – Magic. Teared up when he played Mercy. Pretty short set, but quite worth the wait, for me.

Kid Millions – Did a great set where he was playing solo drums while talking about the serious car accident he recently suffered. Way more fun than that sounds.

Speedy Ortiz – Watched this from the gang’s room, so I’m not sure this really counts. Solid indie rock.

Liz Phair – Good show. I was hoping for a bit more from Guyville, but that is just nit-picking. I’m not sure she actually ages.

1970s Film Stock – Magic. This was my second time seeing Eddie and I was just swept up again. The guy is awesome.

MC50 – Magic, even if for just a few songs. If you take legendary then add five times more legendary, what is that?

Palberta – Went to this because Jon wanted to and he has never steered me wrong. Can something be a studied and deliberate beautiful mess? Yes, it can.

Mind Over Mirrors – A big wall of weird spacey sounds. Perfect way to end things.

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