Blog - WKNC 88.1 FM Raleigh

Sep 22

A Practical Hopscotch Guide: Mistakes I Made 2 Weeks Ago and How to Avoid them Next Year

So Hopscotch was already two whole weeks ago (even though it feels like that weekend took place in a different world entirely) and I’ve had a little time to reflect on my experiences.  While this was indeed an incredibly successful Hopscotch, I still kept it real by making it hard for myself in stupid ways.  Here are just a handful of things that made me think this past Hopscotch (this list ins’t as long as the last one, which is a good sign).


  1. After you check the weather, dress accordingly.  No white t-shirts on days that it’s going to downpour.

  2. Charge your phone ahead of time!  Unless you’re a regular watch wearer, I’m gonna bet that your primary means of checking the time is through your phone.  When you’re at an event that revolves around a very strict schedule, a functioning time-telling device is sooooo helpful.

  3. Think about which venues serve cheaper drinks.  If you know you’re going to CAM after Slims, drink up before hand to avoid the $5 PBR charge at the latter venue.

  4. Those wristbands can get tight if you’re not careful!  Don’t mess with them, you’ll only make it worse, trust me.

  5. Keep it classy if you’re friends still have to be seen with you.

  6. No one suspected there wouldn’t be an official map this year, but that’s what happened. Next year, just in case, I will hopefully have the entire downtown area memorized so I’ll never wander around aimlessly wishing my phone wasn’t dead ever again.


Thanks to everyone who was a part of Hopscotch’s 5th year.  I had a sincere blast (minus that night when I was stopping everyone who walked past me to ask what time it was) and I was filled with love and esteem for my hometown for at least 4 days during and surrounding Hopscotch weekend.  See ya there next year, suckers.



A first timer’s incredible mushy Post-Scotch review

I had a very bad feeling about Hopscotch in the weeks leading up to the event. After months of anticipation, planning, pressuring my friends into buying wristbands, it was almost here, and I was scared. Not of losing my friends every night, having my phone die before 10pm the first night, walking from Fletcher Opera House to Slim’s in the pouring rain, or getting lost in a parking deck for what felt like half an hour; I was scared of the weekend not living up to my high expectations. I had built up the festival so much that I couldn’t shake this feeling that I would walk away from the event disappointed. I had never been to a music festival before and, although everyone who had been to Hopscotch in the past told me about the great time they had, I couldn’t imagine it.

I can say with confidence, however, that Hopscotch was one of the best weekends of my life.

I could list all the amazing artists I saw – day parties included – but those obviously change every year. There are things that won’t change though. The connection you feel with everyone around you, knowing you’re all there on the same mission. The strange comfort you find in the overall chaos of the operation. The forgotten, perfected schedules and sudden urges to be spontaneous. The shows you never thought you’d end up at, which turn out the be the best of the night. The intimate conversations you’ll have with people you’ll never see again.

Hopscotch had me dancing until 2 am every night, almost losing my life in a few moshpits, and falling in love in one crazy, enigmatic weekend and I absolutely cannot wait for next year.

My wristband is starting to get pretty gross, but I don’t have the heart to cut it off just yet.

PostScotch: Three (Metal) Bands to Peep

Hopscotch has came and went leaving in it’s wake a mass face-melted people struggling to readjust to the wares of every day life. With three days of non-stop partying and an unending stream of music, it’s easy for some bands to fall through the cracks. One of my goals this year was to find some new metal bands to keep an eye on this year, and boy howdy did I find some. Here are a few that I think deserve some attention.


SubRosa is a sludge/doom band out of SLC. If I had to describe this band in a single word, it would be haunting. Their slow, drudging sound reverberates with the two violins in the band that create what could be the soundtrack of an actual ghost house. Rebecca Vernon’s vocals have a tension and ferocity to them all while sounding somewhat dissonant against the sludging assault behind her. This band was the biggest surprise for me of all of Hopscotch, I highly back them.

Listen: “The Usher” from “More Constant Than the Gods”

FFO: Electric Wizard, Thou, Sunn 0)))

Artificial Brain

Artificial Brain are a technical death metal band from Long Island. Artificial Brain are a mega-aggressive, super technical, time signature changing buncha dudes. Along with the typical tech death flair, Will’s deep, guttural vocals really impressed me. The tech death sound can be difficult to pull off accurately live, but these guys did a solid job.

Listen: “Absorbing Black Ignition” from “Labyrinth Constellation”

FFO: Gorguts, The Faceless, Decapitated 

Witch Mountain

Witch Mountain is a doom metal band from Portland. Now most people hip to the doom metal scene are aware of this band, but I want to keep an eye on them for a different reason. Uta, the lead vocalist, recently announced that she will be leaving the band, meaning that Hopscotch was one of her last shows, making it quite a special show. I’ve always thought that this band sounded like driving down a back road in a wooded, mountainous area at 2 in the morning with the windows down, just thinking about where everything in your life has led you to. Granted, that isn’t the main theme of their music, but that’s how it has always resonated with me.

Listen: “Can’t Settle” from “Mobile of Angels”

FFO: Dark Castle, Sleep, Cough


Giveaways of the Week: September 22nd - 28th

9/22: Danava w/ MAKE, Solar Halos @ Back Room

9/23: Senses Fail w/ No Bragging Rights, The Wind @ Cat’s Cradle

9/24: Tennis w/ Pure Bathing Culture @ Cat’s Cradle

9/24: Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds w/ Wailin’ Storms @ Pinhook

9/24: Shonen Knife w/ Pipe @ Pinhook

9/25: Yuna @ King’s Barcade

9/27: The Connells w/ The Backsliders, Chris Hendricks @ Raleigh Little Theater

WKNC//Schoolkids Records MUSIC MOVIE NIGHT

Were you worried your Wednesday night wasn’t going to have enough musical inspiration? Well, don’t fret because WKNC and Schoolkids Records have partnered up to bring you the first ever MUSIC MOVIE NIGHT, a brand new monthly series of music documentary and movie screenings at Schoolkids Records in Mission Valley! This Wednesday, we’re kickin’ it off with Gandulf Hennig’s “Fallen Angel: Gram Parsons.”

"As the founder of the Flying Burrito Brothers, a member of the hit-making, legendary Byrds, an important influence on the Rolling Stones and the man who catapulted Emmylou Harris to fame, Gram Parsons made music history in only a few years…Friends, contemporaries and devotees of Gram Parsons talk about the importance of his work and the bizarre circumstances of his early death. Rare footage of his performances shows why Gram Parsons has become a legend.”

This event is free and open to the community!

Schoolkids Records will have beer available on tap:
Bells Two Hearted Ale
Long Rider Sweet Josie
Sweetwater 420 
Shiner Bock
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
Big Boss Harvest Time
And over 8 more cans/bottles of various craft beers and cider!

WKNC will have freebies and merchandise available!

Join the Facebook event page for updates!

Parking is available in the Mission Valley parking lot.  Come hang out with us on Wednesday!  We’ll see you there!

Sep 19

Sep 18

Hiss Golden Messenger at Cat’s Cradle 9/13/14

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to see Hiss Golden Messenger, whose latest album Lateness of Dancers is perhaps one of my favorite albums of 2014. 

Opening the show was Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, who I saw perform seven days prior at Hopscotch to an attentive audience at Fletcher Theatre. Opening a cappella with “Maria’s Gone,” a song made famous by Jean Ritchie, Sauser-Monnig had the audience at full attention like a mountain storyteller telling tales of bygone days.  One of my favorite tunes she played at Hopscotch also made the Cat’s Cradle setlist, Eddy Arnold’s “Cattle Call,” a song about driving the western ranges.  Her quiet, folksy rendition could put you out in the old west as much as Arnold’s original.

The second opener was a Philly folk-rock band, Strand of Oaks, who I had heard of on the radio back home in NJ, but hadn’t delved too much into their music until seeing their show.  The project of singer-songwriter, Timothy Showalter, there was plenty of guitar shredding and drum breaks to be had, which took the audience from captivated listeners to really active participants, with people in the crowd dancing and head bobbing from the front to the back of the venue. 

The two openers really got the crowd pumped for Hiss Golden Messenger’s homecoming concert.  When M.C. Taylor and his band started, they had the whole crowd moving from the gate with “Red Rose Nantahala” and moved right into “Saturday’s Song” from Lateness of Dancers.  Towards the middle of the set, Sauser-Monnig came out to join in with “Day O Day,” along with a number of other tunes from the latest album.  The whole band, consisting of Scott Hirsch on bass, Matt McCaughan on drums, William Tyler on guitar, Terry Lonergan on sax and guitar, and Phil Cook on keys, guitar, and banjo, put on an awesome show as they played though songs from Hiss Golden Messenger’s different albums.  Phil Cook played a stellar, Duane Allman-esque, slide guitar solo on “Lucia” to wrap things up, at least before the encore.They came back out and finished with two songs, the final being a hard rocking, sax heavy rendition of  “Call Him Daylight”, quite different then the acoustic rendition I was familiar with from WKNC’s Lounge session

From what I had heard of Hiss Golden Messenger’s shows in the past, they are never to be missed and always excellent, and I can finally confirm those words are indeed the truth.