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At the point where many young music festivals begin to take off, there's a magnetic pull of non-affiliated artists and organizations who schedule events to take advantage of the influx of potentially interested eyeballs. Think of unofiicial day parties at CMJ and SXSW for an entrenched example. "First Fridays" is a long-standing cultural concern in Raleigh rather than a purely opportunistic upstart, but an overlap on this year's calendar gave every street corner that feeling of random possibility. Some alt-rock band is over there pulling a crowd of a hundred or so into the street. A lively rapper is holding court late-night in front of a fancy chicken and waffles joint. On a cobblestoen side street, in the shadow of a place called "Cobblestone Hall", red-faced children frolick as a country-roots band with a stand-up bass play a song about cocaine.
33. The Sheraton hits 80+% of their "languid 24yos draping themselves across our lobby couches" quota each HS weekend. #hopscotch13
— Matt Kalb (@MattKalb_OrIsIt) September 8, 2013
Stumbling around, looking for something that was actually scheduled early to catch, I stopped in to check on Brooklyn post-rock/black metal dudes Sannhet playing in a small, dark club nearby. Their music veered wildly from one piece to the next, totally unpredictable in tone, totally uneven in quality. Loud, thrashing doom metal never quite cohered into recognizable riffs, leading to skepticism. But then, they'd pull a really tight motorik groove out of their ass, lock in to it for five minutes before breaking down again, suggesting that everything might just be the product of mostly executed intent. Good in patches but not consistent enough to resist the urge to bolt that Hopscotch usually rewards.