This was the first year I really applied myself to delve into Hopscotch, which transformed Raleigh into a downtown funzone the second weekend of September. It was really fun to walk the distance between venues and to see a ton of people on the streets, popping in and out of clubs. I'd definitely say (as a Durhamite) that there's been an uptick since in my comfort levels with going out in Raleigh; Spark.con's freebies the following weekend served as a booster shot.
FRIDAY NIGHT @ LINCOLN THEATER: The Foreign Exchange.
SATURDAY NIGHT @ POUR HOUSE: With an all-club wristband, I milled about for awhile seeing various indie phenoms, and slowly figured out (DUH) that I probably needed to go to the Pour House, where it was all horn bands. I didn't manage to see that full lineup, but heard fantastic things about Fight The Big Bull (out of Richmond), and my good pals Peter Lamb and The Wolves. I arrived during the set of D-town Brass, a band with quite a few guys in it I know from thar and yonder, but had somehow never heard before. It was experimental and groove-based, kind of nerd-funky, and reminded me of movie scores. The sheer size of that horn-line is devastating, both as an audio and a visual. Orchestral in scope, the front line was like a Noah's ark of trombones, trumpets, saxophones, and clarinets. I'm not sure what all percussion they had back there, but congas for sure, marimbas maybe. Sonorous and intense.
It started to really fill up as the clouds gathered for Budos Band. These guys brought an unrelenting Latin fusion groove all night. Hopscotchers pitched glowsticks on stage--landing right in the bell of the bari sax player's horn at some points--and instead of getting pissed, they seemed revved by the friendly dose of aggression. They rained glowsticks, and powerful Latin funk beats, right back at us. I really liked Bobby the conga/bongo player's setup and slap style, idiosyncratic and well adapted. "We're the black sheep [of the Daptone label]," these guys told me later, "but people like us, so they can't get rid of us."
Raleighites raise a beer to Hopscotch