Monday, September 08, 2014

Hopscotch 2014 Night 1: De La Soul, Professor Toon and The Real Laww

All photos by Chris Powers
Hopscotch 2014 officially kicked off with the first Thursday night City Plaza show and it was a sign of things to come. If one thing was different about the fifth installment of Hopscotch, it’s that there was a lot more rhythm all around. More hip hop, more non-drone experimental music, and more dance music. This was a welcome change and I think the festival hit the right balance of genres across the board.

Durham’s own Professor Toon and The Real Law shared the stage as the opener for De La Soul. The duo’s no-frills show was the perfect intro to the night, much more appropriate than the Love Language/No Age combo that led into Public Enemy back at 2010’s Hopscotch. 

Toon and The Real Laww are thoughtful and quirky while still producing a beat that can start a party. Combine that with their affection for their home town and they’re one of the most enjoyable local hip hop acts. 

The weeknight show did not prevent fans from coming out. When De La Soul took the stage, it appeared to be one of the best attended main stage shows since The Flaming Lips in 2011. The energy level of the crowd was also better than most main stage shows, but the group worked constantly to keep the crowd involved. Trugoy and Posdnuos pitted halves of the crowd against each other in several call and responses and Raleigh obliged with appropriate volume. 

The trio stuck mainly to the hits like “Me, Myself, and I” and reminded fans that this was their 25th anniversary frequently; however, this didn’t feel like a group that was hanging on just to suck every last drop out of fame. They were having a good time and didn’t alienate younger fans. They made an effort to reach out to young people in the audience and let them know how much De La Soul appreciated new fans. 

In a rare case of inclement weather during Hopscotch, rain cut De La Soul’s set short just shy of an hour. Many fans tried to brave the storm and encourage the band to keep playing, but the storm only intensified and left everyone running for cover.

No comments: