Reviews in 200 Words

Archive for the ‘Music Festival’ Category

Phish, Charlotte, NC, 6/17/11

In Concert, Music Festival, Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

This isn’t about punchlines.

We know: Endless songs. Noodly guitars. Spilled beers and dreadlocks and the idiots who took too much. No, not that.

Nor is it about people dropping whatever they’re doing (if only for a weekend), traveling miles to see a band they’ve seen 25, 50, 150 times – a band that’s been on the road for 30 years, accumulating as many detractors as they have fans.

It’s about novelty and the chase. It’s about logging dozens of shows, across dozens of years, hoping for one song. It’s about finally hearing that song on a muggy night in the most unlikely of places.

In a world of artificially shared experiences, it’s about standing in a field with twenty thousands people for one reason.


Many people could not care less about Phish. This isn’t about them. This is about the people who do care – the people who were there one night in North Carolina when all bets were off. This is about a brilliant show, satisfaction guaranteed.

It’s about holding on to something once meaningful and finding it’s still there. It’s about wondering “Can I still have fun?” and finding the answer is yes, yes – unequivocally, yes.

Phish – 6/17/11 “Jam > Ghost” from Phish on Vimeo.

Click here to download this week’s official Beat Jab Podcast, featuring a look at the Phish show in Charlotte, NC. And don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast through iTunes. Click here to subscribe, or search “beat jab” at the iTunes store.

Hopscotch Music Festival: Night Three (of Three) Recap: The Love Language, No Age, Public Enemy, Balmorhea, NOMO, First Rate People, Megafaun

In Music Festival on September 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm
It was a night like DNA, where every venue, every disparate style combined to breath life into an evening. It grew and evolved by its own accord. The thrill of Hopscotch was that one could leave behind the uninteresting, only to catch unexpected brilliance elsewhere.
Local favorites The Love Language kicked off to a disparate crowd of diehards and Public Enemy fans staking out a spot at the railing. The small crowd devoured the band’s abundant energy, singing along and shouting requests.
The headliners proved to be many things, none of it expected. Preceded by a marching band and a three-woman group delivering ferocious verses, Public Enemy dropped the most entertaining – and surprisingly melodic – set of the weekend.
Two blocks east we landed in the weekend’s quietest venue. There we found Balmorhea swaying like a seaweed forest – a cleansing breath of hushed strings and gentle climax.
Across town again to a dive where First Rate People brought their innocent, singsongy pop south of the Canadian border for the first time. Then to Kings to catch Megafaun’s capacity set: the final, most engaging, bleary, joyful and riotous moments of a long, exhausting – and ultimately promising – weekend in Raleigh.

-Jay Cullis

Hopscotch Music Festival: Night Two (of Three) Recap: Broken Social Scene, Panda Bear, Sharon Van Etten, Ben Frost

In Music Festival on September 15, 2010 at 11:41 am

Editor’s Note: September 9, 10, and 11 mark the inaugural weekend of Raleigh, NC’s Hopscotch Music Festival. With 130 bands strewn across 10 venues with wrist band admission there’s a lot to catch – and miss – on any given night. These reports are just one account of a promising new tradition in the New South. 

Yes, we know. Raleigh is a “great place to catch live music.” But the capital crowd proved that haters are everywhere during Broken Social Scene’s frenetic, ultimately triumphant set in the canyon of City Plaza. A great show nearly ruined by the drunk and disorderly. 

And what of Panda Bear? Staggering anticipation met Noah Lennox as he took the stage. An abrasive, concrete shaking one man show, the weak of heart peeled away, fingers plugged in ears. Success was not a guarantee. 

But when the beat dropped in “Slow Motion” the entire crowd erupted. Leading the dwindling audience through a swampy, pulsing, rhythmic trek, the unbelievers were convinced. Lennox’s simple, droning encore could have felt like a middle finger, but instead it was a perfect transition into the night. 

Two blocks away Sharon Van Etten and her band finished setting up at the Pour House and jumped into a beautiful, haunting, and affecting set. These are adjectives and they only come close to capturing the passion Van Etten brought to the enraptured crowd.

Down the street to Kings for a cool down with Ben Frost’s glacial electronica. Then home to bed to rest up for Night Three. 

-Jay Cullis

Broken Social Scene on YouTube

Panda Bear on YouTube

Sharon Van Etten

Hopscotch Music Festival: Night One (of Three) Recap: Gray Young, Cults, Best Coast

In Music Festival on September 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm
Editor’s Note: September 9, 10, and 11 mark the inaugural weekend of Raleigh, NC’s Hopscotch Music Festival. With 130 bands strewn across 10 venues with wrist band admission there’s a lot to catch – and miss – on any given night. These reports are just one account of a promising new tradition in the New South.
We’re supposed to “hop” around this festival — dipping in and out of Raleigh’s downtown clubs to catch emerging artists and torchbearers alike. But some of us had to work on Friday morning, so we parked ourselves at Tir Na Nog in hopes of beating what would surely be a capacity crowd for Best Coast.
Consequently we were treated to three energetic – if conflicted – sets from locals Gray Young, up and comers Cults, and the de facto headliner. Gray Young brought the firepower with bright, noisy guitars – a controlled crash of one-noted tension and release that waned by the end.
Cults (try Googling that one) should have destroyed the crowd with unadulterated pop. Instead, weak volume left the audience craning necks to hear their sunshine melodies. Also, it’s hard not to love a band with three guys and one lady who all sport Rapunzel-worthy black tresses.
Finally, much-hyped Bethany Cosentino took the stage with her band’s fuzzy haze. There were peaks and valleys, but it was clear Best Coast is a live act that sounds better that way. Lyrics and nuance lost in recording were abundant and sharp. Believe the hype while wishing for some variety.

-Jay Cullis