Despite dance music occupying less and less space on the Hopscotch lineup, the inclusions this year are intriguing. Adventurers looking for serotonin-draining club moods have a number of underground dance zones to explore.
At Neptune’s on Thursday night at 11:30, Brooklyn’s Kilbourne hotwires the brawny stomp of early-aughts happy hardcore into a modernist, wildly fun form: raw, sloppy, punk-infused beat chaos. Friday night at 10:30, you might consider heading to the much larger venue The Basement for the eighties pop dreams of Atlanta’s Breathers. One of the finest recent new wave acts, they tastefully fold the zany spirit of Devo and Yellow Magic Orchestra into the slick structures of modern pop songwriting.
Saturday night at Wicked Witch, dive brain-first into a rigorous night of dance experimentation. At 9:30, Asheville’s Alex Brown offers gorgeous and propulsive ambience. His club-ready remix of Frank Ocean “At Your Best” flips the song into moist, thick clouds of dance-floor haze, closer to Slowdive then Steve Aoki. After him, Philadelphia pop maestro W00dy chops more samples than your favorite Top 40 producer into wonderfully maximalist dubby weirdness. At 11:30, Abdu Ali explodes the sounds of Baltimore club, punk, and noise rap into a stark and brutal performance that stays with you.
Over at Neptunes on Saturday, THOOM tunnels into sound collage and expansive tweaked-out drone compositions, which can feel pastoral at times. At 12:30, Negative Gemini closes out the festival with her visceral brand of club pop, the kind of lush, futurist, genre-blurring stuff Grimes would probably be still dreaming up if she never signed to Roc Nation.