My one constant rule since the first Hopscotch has been to always see Spider Bags when given the opportunity, no matter when or where they’re playing. But, considering the capacity crowd for their 2 p.m. set at Kings that caused me to miss the start of the set, it seems there must be others out there with the same philosophy.
Maybe I should have foreseen this, given the way the Bags crammed people into Slim’s during Churchkey’s Friday day party. The Durham trio proved why I spent most of my day Saturday with a handful of fine Triangle acts, like Mandolin Orange and Gross Ghost, as well as Triad performers Lowland Hum and Estrangers. On each occasion I saw the Bags, their bluesy, boozy garage rock lived up to the high expectations—both mine and, judging by the reactions, the rest of the audience—with their howled vocals and jittery rave-ups in raw and righteous form. (The Hive was completely crowded Saturday for the their third set in a 24 hour period.)
Like the rest of Hopscotch has proven, we’ve got plenty of talent in our backyard to compete with bills stacked with national and international acts. Raleigh legends The Backsliders—who’ve proven themselves enough already—drew a crowd to Slim’s outdoor stage that would have likely caused the fire marshal some concern. From my vantage point on the Busy Bee’s back patio, I once counted upward of 60 folks watching the gig from various levels of the neighboring parking deck, along with my fellow fans looking down from next door. Frontman Chip Robinson joked about tossing PBRs to those watching from up high—the “cheap seats,” as he called them—during a loose, rowdy set comprised of the band’s finest work.
Though it may not have been technically a day party considering it started in the middle of The Breeders‘ City Plaza reign, DC’s Coke Bust provided my top non-local experience of the day’s unofficial festivities. Packing dozens of mostly wristband-less punk kids into Glenwood’s In The Groove Records, the quartet sprinted through a fistful of its shape-shifting hardcore tracks in just 18 minutes, filling the room with house party vibes as fans huddled around singer Nick Tape to provide genuine gang vocals.
Most in attendance probably would have missed curfew had they attended the 2010 show at Raleigh’s defunct GSS House that Tape referenced as one of his all-time favorites. Still, the kids mostly managed to match the group’s explosive energy in the pit, even if they sometimes seemed to be trying a little too hard.