Balanced Act – Hopscotch 2014

Hopscotch is undeniably one of the country’s best festivals. Day parties (and day drinking), quirky pop-up shops, and intimate shows by emerging artists and well-known names alike. Scattered across Raleigh’s charming tiny cityscape, this affair is a indie music lover’s utopia.

While standing alongside other journos at Tir Na Gog on the festival’s final night, a woman turned around to the rest of us and said, “It’s amazing how many females have been on stage these past few days.” Well, damn. She was right. We were getting ready to see the delightfully odd Prince Rama, comprised of two sisters from Brooklyn and some plastic wrap (more on that in a bit).  The more I thought about the lineup, the more her statement resonated. Potty Mouth, See Gulls, Priests, Ava Luna, White Lung, and the list goes on and on. And that was just on the official lineup.  Day parties showcased an abundance of female musicians like Ex Hex and Caitlin Rose at Girls Rock NC’s killer street event. Whether this was all by happenstance or calculated planning by the powers that be at Hopscotch, it was pretty rad.

What’s clear is that lots of women are making independent music that is diverse, bold and collaborative. The right message is being sent to young girls who might be picking up a guitar for the first time. You don’t have to do that coffeehouse confessional shit (but if you wanna do that too, have at it)! You can yell, sweat, scream, be pretty, be dirty, be relentless. Worth noting is that there were also women in other roles at the fest ranging from photographers to roadies and a ton of supportive dudes too.  In a summer that was chock full of d-bag bro-fests that shall remain nameless, this is worth celebrating. A balanced scene is a killer scene, folks.

We thought we’d share some of our favorite acts from the weekend with you good folks.

St. Vincent

Annie Clark is a genius. Period. In recent years, her showmanship has expanded ten fold (thanks, David Byrne). Ms. Clark owned City Plaza with her explosive set.

Annie Clark headlines City Plaza. Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Annie Clark headlines City Plaza. Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Prince Rama

Remember that lady that got attacked by a raccoon and took an epic photo that went viral last year? That’s the first I’d ever heard of Prince Rama and I’m glad it wasn’t the last. They’re purveyors of killer nu wave dance grooves and a really odd show. Taraka Larson made a grand entrance to the stage wrapped entirely in plastic wrap.

Prince Rama @ Tir Na Gog, Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Prince Rama @ Tir Na Gog, Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Ex Hex

Mary Timony’s band might best be described as a force. For real, just check out their new album Rips. You’re welcome.

Ex Hex plays Girls Rock NC day party, Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Ex Hex plays Girls Rock NC day party, Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Caitlin Rose

A lot of folks try to do the classic country thing and it feels a little stilted. That’s not the case with Caitlin Rose. Broken hearts and spitfire make for some pretty amazing songs that walk the line between Patsy Cline and Petula Clark.

Caitlin Rose plays Girls Rock NC day party, Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Caitlin Rose plays Girls Rock NC day party, Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Hot Dolphin

This Richmond-based band is a full-throttle burst of spastic energy. Lindsey Spurrier is a front woman on fire, reminiscent of Kathleen Hanna and Karen O.

Hot Dolphin @ Let Feedback Ring day party, Photo by Jennifer Bridges

Hot Dolphin @ Let Feedback Ring day party, Photo by Jennifer Bridges

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