Once a year, the Hopscotch Music Festival draws an eclectic parade of music to the streets and stages of downtown Raleigh. This year’s festival was marked by the presence of many acts, large and small, young and old, too many to name. Thursday evening, attendees at Memorial auditorium stood shivering in anticipation curiously awaiting a performance from NYC icons and living legends, Television. To the disappointment of none, Tom Verlaine, Billy Ficca, Fred Smith, and Jimmy Rip, in classic rock fashion, commanded every single aspect of their performance. Front man, guitarist, vocalist, Tom Verlaine, kept the audience waiting as he demanded changes to the lighting and took his sweet time to open the first song, but once he did, the jaws of many in attendance hit the ground. The sound perfected by original members in NYC in the early 1970’s which laid the groundwork for such bands as Talking Heads, The Modern Lovers, The Soft Boys, and The Church to name a few came alive for all of us on that Thursday night. A few new songs created by the re-formed Television after the loss of founding members, Richard Hell and Richard Lloyd, came off with no indication the band has lost one grain of creativity or absolute originality. Verlaine and Jimmy Rip’s guitar work – dark, minimal and gritty – took us back to New York, back to Max’s Kansas City and CBGB in 1973, but in the present, they ruled as punk rock legends, never to be underestimated or forgotten. Signature songs, “Marquee Moon” and “Venus” piqued the voracity of the audience with authenticity and heart, and Television, aged like wine, fresh as ever, ruled the roost that Thursday night at Hopscotch 2016. Not to be forgotten, Nashville, Tennessee’s undefinable collective of masters of sound played right next door at Fletcher Hall to an audience of fans who come to see and stare and listen in wonderment. What Lambchop singer, front man, songwriter, Kurt Wagner does with his voice and with his lyrical genius is difficult to explain. With soft affectation of subtle intensity, he puts forth pure magic, and backed only by a grand piano and bass, a sound and feeling of such unique and downright moving intensity overtook that small theater. The experience of seeing Television and Lambchop is a credit to the experience created every year at The Hopscotch Music Festival. Something for everyone.
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