[Screen capture from this video]
As happens more and more frequently these days in North Carolina, Al Riggs dedicated one of his songs — “Carolina Peacemaker” — to the state’s governor Pat McCrory, whose brazenly incompetent and offensive campaign against LGBTQ people has lost the state several major concerts, the NCAA tournament, a major PayPal facility, and the NBA All-Star Game, among other things. As he detailed in an interview this summer, Riggs, who is gay, didn’t set out to make his music political, at least not about that topic. But he, like many of his fellow citizens, has found that if you live under this regime, you no longer have a choice.
If you leave out the political stuff, the most notable detail about Riggs is the volume of his output, made mostly by himself, mostly using his iPhone or laptop. His work (he was heading up to record a new album the following week in New York) finds its moment when he decides, rather than the practicalities of a “release schedule” or studio time or the various other trappings of most musicians’ lives. As a result, he’s able and willing to share his ideas at a furious pace, about whatever topic suits him — from state politics to the (very) unfortunately (since re-) named Durham restaurant “Hattie Mae Williams Called Me Captain.”
Being a festival-length set, this Hopscotch Music Festival performance at Deep South the Bar could hardly do justice to Riggs’ entire body of work, but it gave those of us who hadn’t seen him live a flavor of what he’s capable of. Riggs, with a sing-speak delivery that purposefully doesn’t obscure his words, lives in both the rock and folk worlds, able to deliver a forceful choogler like “Afraid of Heaven” with the same degree of skill he brings to more subtle tunes like “All The Cells” — a song, he said, “for every queer kid’s parents who are trying to figure out what to do next.” Even if this set was billed simply as “Al Riggs,” one has to give credit to his band, the Inconveniences,” who appear on his most recent album (though it’s hard to keep up) Night Freedom. While Riggs has been successful at recording on his own, there’s no denying the additional power of the live act, and his music and this modest-but-accommodating venue were a natural fit. It’s not really worth leaving New York to see the bands that play here all the time (which is most of them). It’s the shows like this, by the local gems that you’d hate to miss, that make the trip.
I recorded this set with a relatively modest setup, Audio Technica AT 853 cardiod microphones mounted in the center of the room. While there are some occasional spots of crowd noise here and there, the sound quality of this recording is overall quite strong. Enjoy!
Stream and download this show on our bandcamp page
Hopscotch Music Festival
Raleigh, NC USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Audio Technica 853c (2’ split, DFC)>CA-UBB>Sony PCM-10>24bit/44.1kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (compression, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
01 Don’t Smoke In Bed
03 Young Hegelians
04 Afraid of Heaven
05 Reagan Slain By Hero Cop
06 All The Cells
08 Carolina Peacemaker
10 Tunnel of Gore
12 Hungry Months