One of the things that Hopscotch shares with other music festivals is the mixture of fatigue and excitement that sets in by the third day. With this year’s Hopscotch rounding third and heading into home on Saturday, festival goers were moving a bit slower but everyone was still comparing notes and schedules, buzzing about the myriad of performances that lay ahead. As with the previous two days, we started the day off early, catching some stellar performances at the Hopscotch Day Show block party. We meandered over to the WUNC Music Stage and took in sets from Rosali, Phil Cook, and Israel Nash.
With the afternoon’s sonic appetizer still ringing in our ears, we decided to hoof it to our first Red Hat Amphitheater set of the weekend. Hometown Raleigh funk songwriter and performer, Jamil Rashad, better known by his performance moniker, Boulevards, was worth the hike. Oozing charisma and swagger, Boulevards always delivers top notch performances, and his late afternoon / early evening set provided the perfect transition into the evening’s headliners. Feeling recharged and ambitious, we decided to give the Red Hat / City Plaza “back and forth” a shot, catching sets from Speedy Ortiz and Liz Phair at City Plaza before heading back to Red Hat for Nile Rodgers and CHIC. Songwriter, musician, composer, arranger, and producer (seriously this guy is the Swiss Army knife of the music world) Nile Rodgers doesn’t seem to have lost any of his joy for performing as he had a big grin on his face throughout most of the set which was mirrored on many of the faces in the crowd. As much fun as we were having, we made the tough call to leave early and head back to City Plaza for the closing headline set from MC50. Led by MC5 founding member and guitartist Wayne Kramer, MC50 is a 50th Anniversary celebration of the Detroit proto-punk rocker’s landmark debut album, Kick Out the Jams. Kramer surrounded himself with an all-star supporting cast that included Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Faith No More bassist Billy Gould, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and Zen Guerrilla frontman Marcus Durant. The band worked through Kick Out the Jams in its entirety and added in a handful of additional MC5 classics. Kramer had previously issued the statement that “This band will rip your head off,” and damn if he didn’t deliver on that promise at Hopscotch.
After trying to regain our senses following the massive MC50 set, it was off to the Lincoln Theatre where we camped out for the rest of the evening for a healthy dose of country, rockabilly, Americana, and rock n’ roll courtesy of Zephaniah Ohora, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, and the Jayhawks.