If you’re going to this year’s Hopscotch, I imagine you don’t need me to hype you up further for the likes of Pavement, Denzel Curry, and Japanese Breakfast on the main stages. So let’s get you hyped for the many dynamic acts playing this year’s clubs, offering you the opportunity to bounce through a litany of different sounds long into the night. Here’s one act to see at each of this year’s eight indoor spaces. But these are just our picks: use them as a jumping-off point to choose your own adventure.
Lesthegenius | Kings | 11 p.m.
Local rapper Lesthegenius delivers his lines in a way that makes you feel like you’re living through them. His deep and commanding voice and the undulating rhythm of his flow matches bars that often find him stumbling over obstacles before steadying himself and pushing forward with determination. Tap into his energy at Kings and let it fuel the rest of your night.
Cable Ties | Wicked Witch | 12 a.m.
I put off listening to Cable Ties’ Merge Records debut, All Her Plans, until this year’s schedule dropped. Bad call on my part: it rips. If you’re looking for a band that scrambles familiar, classic rock with punk elements in a way that’s somehow still distinct, this Australian band’s searingly anthemic jams are for you.
Rosali | The Pour House | 11:30 p.m.
Across her last two albums, Saxapahaw–via-Philadelphia musician Rosali has emerged as one of indie rock’s best guitarists and songwriters, punctuating her soaring warble with guitar lines that paint pretty lattices in the background until they explode into the stratosphere. Regardless of how stripped-back the accompaniment is at Hopscotch, her two instruments should fill the two-story Pour House perfectly.
Jeff Parker ETA IVtet | Lincoln Theatre | 12 a.m.
I love seeing large crowds in Hopscotch’s biggest rock club vibe to experimental excellence—Tortoise and Battles are two highlights from previous years. Jeff Parker, a free jazz guitarist who masterfully expresses emotion with subtle textural shifts, will blend hip-hop with ethereal jazz with his ETA IVtet ensemble. His transfixing set on a main stage last year was greeted with a small crowd after heavy rain. Let’s pack out Lincoln for him on Friday.
Daikaiju | Neptunes | 12:30 a.m.
The taut and towering surf-infused post-punk of Daikaiju is impressive, but they earn their monstrous name with DIY spectacle. Their guitarists and drummer crowd-surf while playing. They typically hand out drums for onlookers to smash along. And they frequently light the top of their tour van on fire. At Hopscotch, the beast emerges within the tight underground confines of Neptunes.
Cro-Mags | Slim’s | 12:30 a.m.
I have a koozie from a former Hopscotch that reads “Slime’s”—a twist on the club’s name. I’m not sure if the message Sharpied on this neon-green Absolut drink holder was added by Slim’s or if it was a perfect joke by whoever left the koozies on the bar. But it aptly reflects the many sweaty, raucous shows that the tight shotgun bar has hosted during Hopscotch. Check out what’s sure to be an explosive scene when seminal hardcore-thrash band Cro-Mags plays, and uphold the tradition.
Setting | Nash Hall | 12:30 a.m.
Splitting sets to see two things you’ve just gotta see is a hallowed Hopscotch tradition, and I encourage it Saturday night. Skip out of Cro-Mags early and get to Nash, the worship hall for the Church on Morgan. During Hopscotch, the beautifully reverberating space has become a place to worship at the altar of experimental sound. Setting—the new trio from Nathan Bowles, Jaime Fennelly, and Joe Westerlund—layers electro-folk percolations in a way that’s both innervating and calming on debut single “Zoetropics,” released earlier this month.
Zack Mexico | Transfer Co. | 1 a.m.
This pick offers a Hopscotch standby in a new Hopscotch venue. I haven’t seen a show at Transfer yet, but I haven’t encountered a room that can quell the tenaciously longform surf-psych-garage grooves of Zach Mexico. End your Saturday here and ride the wave with them into the wee hours.
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