|Photo by Justin Weber|
The Durham trio is refreshingly laissez-faire with a sound that feels like it’s delivered with a shrug. Lyrics pour out of Emily O’Sullivan like she just wants to get them all out. They flow in a steady stream until they run out and she casually peels away from the microphone (always to the left and with a sigh it seems). The lyrics may not be delivered with much velocity, but they’re still razor sharp.
“You put your hands on me and filled me with your rot. A million showers couldn’t wash away the thought,” O’Sullivan open on “Dead Meat.”
That’s only half of the appeal, though. The tension that gets built up is transformed into kinetic energy when O’Sullivan turns from bored to diabolical. She began to fling the lyrics out and at the louder dynamics her voice has a serrated edge that’s impossible to ignore. When he final third of “Dead Meat” kicked into double time and the duo of O’Sullivan shouting “You’re dead to me!” while bassist Hannah Spectre seethes below with “A million showers couldn’t wash away the rot,” it was clear that this is a band watch in the coming years.
Charlottesville's Y’all is Adam Smith, Jon Bray and Adam Brock of the popular Invisible Hand plus Christian Smith of Naked Gods. The band is barely six months old, but they already sounded locked in.
Fans of Invisible Hand and Naked Gods will be right at home with their big mountain jams and psychedelic wandering. One minute Y’all is meandering through a sea of reverb and ringing tones and the next they’re bombarding the audience with huge downbeats and head bang-worthy guitar solos such as on the multifaceted “Metal Neck.”
Listening to them in a packed Kings Barcade, it was hard to believe this was a 9:30 p.m. slot band. It goes to show how much Hopscotch has grown. In the first few years, venues would be nearly empty early and I’d be wishing time would go a little faster. On Saturday night, I didn’t want to be anywhere other than watching Y’all. For 20 minutes they made me live in the moment.