We asked a handful of people who are knowledgeable about or involved in music, locally and beyond, to give us five picks for Hopscotch. We left it open to anything from five essential bands to general suggestions or standout memories.

Here’s the first set. Check back Thursday for the second.

Jedidiah Gant
New Raleigh. Gant also writes regular Indy columns documenting his young son’s fight against cancer.

Outdoor day parties – Bring the kids along!

One of the best things about being a parent and also loving live music is seeing bands play
outside during the day so you can take along the kids. Oliver’s first show was The Rosebuds,
outside at Bug Fest. Maybe it drives some folks nuts and I was probably one of those folks
back in the day, but Hopscotch has lots of outdoor day parties which is a great way to chill and
expose your kids to awesome music, food and basketball. Then, drop off the kids and hit the
venues as the sun goes down.

Hop around or sit down?

Each year I struggle with this decision. Do I hop around and see a few songs by as many bands
as possible or stay in a few venues and see longer sets? Over the past two years, I’ve followed
my slightly frenetic nature and hopped around, unless a band’s set engrossed me. This year, I
plan on trying to sit in place a bit more. I’m going to try, but come Thursday night, I’ll probably
resort back to impulsive wandering. Good luck deciding; I don’t think you can go wrong either

Sweaty, energetic, outrageous performances

I love seeing outrageous musical stage (or floor) performances. I’m still trying my best to find a
band that will equal Cold Cave’s 2011 Hopscotch show. The following bands have the potential
for putting on a sweaty, energetic, outrageous club show and shouldn’t be missed (if you’re into
that kinda thing): Nobunny, Danny Brown, Holograms, Dan Deacon, Vattnet Viskar, Corrosion
of Conformity, Valient Thorr, Dope Body, Thee Oh Sees, Killer Mike, Trash Talk, Pop. 1280,
Pictureplane and probably every other punk-metal and electronic act on the bill.

Bands and performances you may never have a chance to see again

Hopscotch brings bands and performers to Raleigh that rarely perform together (Rhys
Chatham’s Guitar Trio, anyone?). Local bands will surely play
again in the Triangle, as will a handful of the other acts. If you want to see some bands or
performances that you may never have the opportunity to see again in the Tar Heel state or
in your life, go to these: Liars, Matthew E. White’s One Incantation Under God (this year’s Guitar Trio), Arnold Dreyblatt with
Megafaun, Sunn O))), Colin Stetson, Julia Holter, Charlie Parr, Jacaszek, Mirel Wagner.

I heart bikes

The best decision you could make this weekend is bringing a bicycle along for your musical ride
around Downtown Raleigh. Hopping between venues takes much less time, and the large
concentration of bicycles in downtown makes Raleigh feel like a true 21st-century city on
Hopscotch weekend. Be sure to bring a light, helmet, lock and messenger bag for purchased

Churchkey Records
Durham friends and boutique label-runners Kyle Miller and Steve Jones compiled this list.

The Jesus And Mary Chain

The Churchkey way.
  • Contributed photo
  • The Churchkey way

We’ve been looking forward to this since the day it was announced. The JAMC are one of our absolute favorite bands, and we thought we’d never have the chance to see them. After we tried and failed to see them at SXSW, Hopscotch put a second chance right in our laps, and we’re not going to miss them this time.

Have a beer on the back porch at Slim’s

Slim’s is our home base when we head to Raleigh, and the sunny back porch is a great place for day-drinking. We hope you’ll come have a beer with us during Que Viva, the day party we’re throwing at Slim’s on Friday with six great rock ‘n’ roll bands, but if you can’t make it Friday, get there sometime and sip on a cold can of Tecate.

Nobunny at CAM

Have y’all seen Nobunny? If you saw him play in Craig Powell’s living room with Spider Bags, you might think you know what you’re in for. You’d be wrong. He’s playing in a museum—we have no idea what we’re in for. Absolute must-see.

Drink champagne with your burger at Chuck’s

Just trust us on this one. It’s on the menu for a reason.

Whatever Brains

They might be the most electrifying band at Hopscotch. See them wherever they play and whenever they play. Take a long walk afterward; it’s unfair to ask another band to follow them.

Allison Hussey
Diversions editor, The Daily Tar Heel

Flaming Lips, City Plaza, 2011

Flaming Lips front row survivor Allison Hussey
  • Katie Sweeney
  • Flaming Lips front row survivor Allison Hussey

I got up front and center in the hopes of maximizing my Flaming Lips experience, and for a few fleeting moments, I wasn’t sure I would make it out in one piece. As Wayne Coyne rolled out onto the crowd in his signature bubble, he knocked the lights, sending them rocking. The clanking, swaying setup was directly above my head; it was a little worrisome to say the least. It of course ended up OK, and that was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever seen. Close runner up/related memory: meeting Wayne Coyne in City Plaza earlier that afternoon and talking to him about his previous night’s adventure, which included Sebastian Bach, barbecue and moonshine.

Bombadil, Fletcher Opera Theater, 2011

Bombadil was one of my most-anticipated bands last year, and seeing them come back “for real” was almost too much. Their set sounded fantastic, and the theater was such a good setting for their sound. It felt like everyone in that room was just as thrilled as I was to see such this bunch of talented, genuinely awesome guys bounce back against circumstances that would have beaten most other bands.

Kooley High, Deep South, 2010

This was the last set I saw on the last night of Hopscotch 2010. I almost fell asleep against a wall. I was extremely tired but so excited to have been around for the whole weekend, and was already eager to see what the next year’s festival would bring.

Panda Bear, City Plaza, 2010

Not quite a full memory. I had a family event to go to that afternoon/evening, so I missed the earlier stuff. I was running down Wilmington St. trying to get to Ryan Gustafson (I think) at The Pour House. I could hear Panda Bear’s set pouring into the street, and all I could think was, “This is so cool. My city is cool.” It was a really weird moment, but it’s really stuck with me for some reason.

The Rosebuds and friends Day Party, East Cabarrus Street, 2011

This was just fun. I got to see several artists I liked that I was never expecting to see together (including Hammer No More The Fingers, Ben Sollee and The Rosebuds). The weather was perfect, and I believe part of this day party included free haircuts, which I thought was odd but pretty creative as far as free stuff went. It was a lot more laid-back than much of the rest of my weekend, and the break was much appreciated.

Scotty Sandwich
Death to False Hope Records

Red Collar, Friday afternoon at Tir na nOg, The Old North State Day Party

Red Collar was one of the first Triangle bands I fell in love with when I moved here a few years ago. Their performance outside of Raleigh Times at the first Hopscotch was awe-inspiring. Best band. Best people.

Toon & the Real Laww, Friday night at The Pour House Music Hall

Scotty Sandwich in his natural habitat

I just recently met Toon & the Real Laww for a Defeat Amendment 1 event at Duke. Their performance was fantastic and had an insane amount of energy that I was not used to seeing from hip-hop artists.

Museum Mouth, Saturday afternoon at Sadlack’s, Let Feedback Ring Day Party
(Full disclosure: Corbie Hill organized this day party)

I play in a band called Almost People, and Karl (Museum Mouth’s singer) and I decided we are sister city bands. I’m normally not a fan of lo-fi recording but these guys are doing it right.

Temperance League, Friday afternoon at Tir na nOg, The Old North State Day Party

Chris Tamplin introduced me to the Temperance League in 2010. I love Bruce Hazel’s voice and energy. Temperance League are a refreshing change in a stale genre.

Tenement, Friday night at CAM Raleigh

Tenement is everything indie rock should be. You know… like rock. They make me miss 1997. If you like the superguidedpavementtospilldrag sound, this should be your favorite current band.

Check back tomorrow for part two, including picks from Spin‘s Chris Weingarten and WUNC’s Eric Hodge.