8:00 a.m. Work. Low sleep. My noon Hopscotch departure has been on the calendar for months. I drink a large coffee, slowly.
8:45 a.m. Boss arrives and gleefully informs us of a client meeting, 9 a.m. on Monday morning. He wants five updated schematic designs and two updated reports.
8:46 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Colorful, descriptive, specific, vivid cursing while I prepare said reports and drawings. It is all silent cursing. To curse specifically and vividly out loud at work, you have to have another job in hand. I spend this time regretting every decision that has led me to this professional point.
2:01 p.m. I am over it. I am also finished with my work. I Hopscotch.
2:15 p.m. Lollipops at CAM, PBR in hand, because what else could they possibly serve at a Hipster street party?
3:00 p.m. I pick up my volunteer t-shirt and get my evening assignment. I’m working the door at the metal lineup at Kings. Headliner is Altar of Plagues. I text my friends, who are greatly amused.
3:10 p.m. I get a text from PJ that says “Standing in a sea of hipsters at CAM where are you?? Feeling very out of place.”
3:11 p.m. Collect PJ at CAM, where she does not stand out at all as being un-hipster, but we seriously enjoyed the fashion show. This guy was my favorite:
Dude. Rock that. Flag socks and shower shoes. Well done.
4:00 p.m. JJ joined us in time for Lonnie Walker and more PBRs.
4:15 p.m. Love Language was amazing. Somehow I’ve kept missing them, other than a song or two I heard at a benefit last year. Fun show.
5:15 p.m. I stop at the office and change into my volunteer shirt, which, as last year, is totally hipster cowboy repellant. The smallest size is giant and boxy. With the outfit I had on, I suddenly looked like a soccer mom. This weekend is hipster central. You can not look like a soccer mom in hipster central at a death metal show. I go home to raid my closet.
5:50 p.m. I leave the house in a passable volunteer t-shirted outfit, my only move being my H & M hipster skinny jeans and giant Olivia-Newton-John-Circa-1979 wedge sandals. Plus a flower clip to cinch up my t-shirt. My sandals and flower, miraculously, exactly match the weird red/pink/burgundy color on the logo. I do not look like I belong at a metal show, but I do not look like a soccer mom anymore. I know that at 1 a.m. I will regret the giant wedge sandals.
6:10 p.m. Willow and I convene at Humble Pie to discuss the dismal state of the architecture profession, and plan Willow’s Hopscotch evening, and eat broiled cheese and asparagus with eggs. We stay for a long time on that lovely patio.
8:00 p.m. Kings. This is where the evening gets interesting. I meet the other two volunteers, neither of whom look like metal fans either. One is straight out of college, and one is older than I am. Not going to lie. That made me feel better. We meet the serious of rotating door guys who will do all the hard work while we look decorative and greet people. We start checking wristbands. It’s harder than it sounds, with everyone having multiple bands and bracelets on, but we figure it out.
8:01 pm to 8:30 ish. not much happens this early. We don’t quite meet the bands, as they are all gathered in clusters smoking on the sidewalk, and enjoying the pre-show vibe. They are all tattooed and long-curly-haired and each have some variety of the death metal black t-shirt. They look fantastic. I would have taken pictures but I didn’t want to get all fangirl on them. They couldn’t have been nicer.
8:35 p.m. MAKE takes the stage. There’s a mad rush at the door.
9:30 p.m. Vattnet Viscar is on. Things get louder. Bigger rush at the door.
10:30 p.m. Black Tusk. I begin to love metal. ‘Course, I’m two rooms away and downstairs from the show. But it sounds pretty good.
11:00 p.m. Neptune’s starts to go crazy. At this point I’ll say that I’ll take a constant stream of metal fans all day over the ridiculous mess of scenesters coming and going from Neptune’s all night. Behavior devolves. Idiots.
11:15 p.m. I babysit Grayson Currin’s bike for ten minutes on the sidewalk. I feel super cool. Also jealous of anyone whose job is writing about music and co-organizing Hopscotch. I’m sure it’s exhausting, right about now, but it looks like a hell of a lot of fun.
11:30 p.m. The Atlas Moth. I am converted. There is quite a bit more structure and melody to metal than I would have guessed.
11:45 p.m. A long-haired death-metal-shirt-wearing gentleman in knee-high boots comes in and asks me who’s playing. I tell him it’s The Atlas Moth and that they are blowing the roof off Kings up there. He gazes deeply into my eyes, tells me in a thick, exotic, unplaceable accent that it is a beautiful thing, how America is embracing metal in this way. He tells me his name is Ivan and then kisses my hand. Nobody has done that to me since Istanbul. I love metal fans.
12:15 a.m. I am wristband checking when I look up to see a vaguely familiar face, and a former student yells “Miz B!!” and gleefully throws his arms around me. He was adorable in sixth grade. He is adorable as an adult. He can not work out exactly why his sixth grade math and science teacher is dressed like Olivia Newton John and wearing a Hopscotch Staff shirt past midnight at Kings. I can not work out how my former students are old enough to be at nightclubs past midnight.
12:20 p.m. The Neptune’s crowd is becoming impaired. A girl brings in her pit bull and ties him to the stairs next to me, blocking something like three passageways at once. The dog looks uncomfortably awkward about it. She tries to get me to open a closet door to let him in. “Sorry, I’m here with Hopscotch, I don’t work for Kings. That’s probably a bad place for your dog. ” “Could you open that door?” she says again. “I can’t, I don’t work for Kings. You can talk to the guy at the door.” “Um, like, could I leave the dog upstairs?” The dog at this point hears the metal band upstairs, looks at his owner, and then looks back at me and rolls his eyes. “It’s like this every weekend,” the dog tells me. “Um, can you like open that door?” she asks again, as if we have not already done this. “I DO NOT WORK HERE,” I enunciate. Flash of understanding, finally. At this point, I decide that, although I will not be a perfect dog owner either, I will be a lot better than this. I become 80% sure about the dog decision.
12:30 a.m. The crowd at Neptune’s is straight-up ridiculous. People are fighting. One drunk chick tries to call the police from the door because someone spilled her drink or something. A lady who looks like a parent stumbles in and turns over the door guy’s table. A twenty-something poser comes upstairs and tattles on a guy downstairs who is annoying her. The same three guys enter and exit something like seventy times in the course of the night. None of this has anything to do with Hopscotch. This crowd was all badly-behaved First Friday-ers. It is insane to watch. The Hopscotch metal fans are impeccably polite and well-behaved.
12: 40 a.m. Altar of Plagues takes the stage. It sounds as if someone has ripped open a portal to hell, and a thousand raging demons are unleashed upon downtown Raleigh.
It is so badass.
This is all I could see up there, what with the portal to hell being open and all. We took turns checking it out, because if a band called Altar of Plagues is doing anything nearby, you know it’s going to be worth seeing.
1:00 a.m. I let the last little burst of Hopscotchers in to catch the end of the show. I check one guy’s wristband for about the third time, and as he climbs the stairs to Kings, he blows me a long, slow, elaborate kiss. I realize that, although my Hopscotch t-shirt is probably still hipster cowboy repellant, wow, the metal guys like it.
1:15 a.m. Skillet from the Indy comes by to collect our cash box and send us home. I’m sure, like the rest of the Hopscotch folks, he hasn’t slept all week and has been running ragged all day. Nonetheless, he is super cheerful and possibly the nicest person in Raleigh. I tell him I love the Small Ponds and I’ve seen him play more times than I can count, and that I hope he’s getting some sleep, and he says he’s thinking that sometime around Tuesday that might happen. And we all make our way home as I realize that yes, the wedge sandals were a questionable choice, but I’m not sorry.
Hopscotch Saturday ahead. I am planning to hit three day parties, criss-cross paths with numerous friends, and to the music thing right this evening. I’m going to be camped out tonight for Shovels and Rope, which is the band I’m most excited about all Hopscotch. We’ll see how it turns out. I am ragged today from the secondhand smoke, hours on my feet in the giant sandals, two very late nights, and all the excitement. But it’s SO worth it.
See you out there.