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Hopscotch III: Day two

Day two photo gallery

It would be silly to call Zack Mexico surf music from the moon -- there's no water up there, let alone oceans. But you wouldn't have ocean tides without the moon's gravitational pull. So think of this Kill Devil Hills quintet as inhabitants of the dark side of said orb, where they lasso the centripetal forces of the galaxy to ride waves of skronk across the astral plain. If that ain't surfing, well, I don't know what is.

Zack Mexico's set at the Contemporary Art Museum was the high point of Hopscotch Friday, which offered another fantastic day and night of music. Even if you don't have a festival wristband, you should be taking advantage of the day parties at various clubs around downtown. Pretty much all of them are free and open to the public, and all you have to do to find them is to follow your ears; downtown has been hoppin'. I spent most of Friday afternoon camped out at Deep South, witnessing excellent sets by Toddlers, Old Bricks and Lazy Janes, among others.

The nightcap included nightclub anthems with Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores, Yo La Tengo in a mostly mellow (for them) tone and the stately country-rock of Hiss Golden Messenger -- all stellar, especially a heartbreakingly beautiful new song from Yo La Tengo's upcoming album -- and idiosyncratic folkie Mountain Goat John Darnielle doing heavy-metal covers on a piano, accompanied by gospel-style backup singers. It was weird and wonderful, but also late in the evening; I wish I'd had the energy to last through the whole set.

Still, you want to talk weird and wonderful, it doesn't get any better than the aforementioned Zack Mexico, a young quintet dressed in castoff beachwear that looked like it had been shoplifted from an Outer Banks thrift shop. They alternated between withering Captain Beefheart-esque flipouts, ambient drones and rippling jingle-jangle guitar-pop, with turn-on-a-dime transitions. The interplay between the group's three guitarists (each equipped with a full rack of sound-effects pedals) was amazing, and the set ended with three out of five members writing around the floor as the bandleader flung his guitar in the air, trying to hook it on an overhead rafter as the crowd howled.

You really should be out seeing this stuff...

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