Another year, another Noise Pop. Noise Pop is an annual Bay Area indie music festival that usually lasts a week. Past years have featured LIVE 105 artists like Death Cab For Cutie, The White Stripes, Silversun Pickups, Wolfmother and Modest Mouse. I had a lot of fun this week, seeing several Noise Pop shows and DJing at their opening night party.
Working behind the scenes at LIVE 105, being on the air and DJing in clubs restricted me from experiencing Noise Pop 2010 to the extent I’m used to. It was hard to see everything, especially with so much going on at once, but I did what I could.
Noise Pop Badges.
On Tuesday, the festival kicked off at Benders with The Noise Pop and LIVE 105 “Opening Night Party”. I carried my DJ equipment across the rain-soaked streets of San Francisco and spun a 2 hour set with Dan B. By 6pm the place was packed and the open bar was…um, open. Dan really kept his set loud and electro while I was trying to tone it down a little bit to fit the mood of Noise Pop. Decent mix I thought. Highlights for me were Sea Wolf’s “Wicked Blood“, Rogue Wave’s “Good Morning” and John Lennon’s “Instant Karma“. I played Lennon last because Yoko Ono was performing a Noise Pop show that night at The Fox Theater. It seemed appropriate. The audience dug it and sang along with free booze in hand.
I’m smiling! (photo: Jenz/IMPOSE Magazine)
The always interesting and bizarre Har Mar Superstar followed. Take sparkling outfits, capes, short balding guy in his 30s who likes to strip, disco groove beats and you’ve got quite the interesting experience.
Har Mar w/ clothes. (photo: Jenz/IMPOSE Magazine)
He works his ass off on stage, walks around in the crowd and removes an article of clothing every 5 minutes or so to eventually show off said ass. All that remained were underpants by the time Mr. Superstar was done. It was like watching a really hott strip tease, but in the bizarro world.
Har Mar w/o clothes. Amy likes. (photo: Jenz/IMPOSE Magazine)
I was exhausted from the night and it was only 8pm. The Bay Area was drenched with rain and a new episode of Lost was about to begin (which, by the way… A Note to the Producers of Lost: can we get moving already?! Please?!). So, sadly… I didn’t see Yoko Ono.
The Rickshaw Stop.
I ran into a friend who said that Free Energy “sounds like a really bad version of Creedence Clearwater Revival, but even more terrible… especially since it’s 2010. They are beyond awful”. Personally, I like Creedence Clearwater Revival and didn’t find Free Energy to be that bad. Nothing I’d make too much of an effort to listen to, but overall I’ve heard worse. Custom “Beat Me” anyone?… Anyone?
Free Energy. (photo: Jenz/IMPOSE Magazine)
I then cabbed over to one of the finest venues on planet Earth: Bottom Of The Hill. The place was completely sold out to see Oakland’s Rogue Wave (coming back to The Fillmore on April 30th). Openers Princeton had just finished so I went to the outside area in the back of the venue. I ran into my dear friend (and former next door neighbor of the one and only Jared) John Vanderslice. Mr. Vanderslice is a fantastic local singer song writer who also runs Tiny Telephone Studios (where bands like Death Cab For Cutie and The Mountain Goats record their records). He is perhaps the nicest person I have ever met. We talked about his upcoming record, the NBA and his obsession over the Winter Olympics.
Rogue Wave. (Photo: Misha Vladimirskiy/Analogrebels)
Soon after, Rogue Wave went on. They played for about an hour and sounded fine. The audience worshipped them as this show was an under-play for the band. They seemed to mostly play songs form their forthcoming album Permalight. The single “Good Morning” has been a staple on Soundcheck for weeks now and the new songs sounded great. Soon after playing “Publish My Love” (one of my favorite Rogue Wave tracks), Vanderslice joined the boys on stage for a few songs. Over all, very cool show.
Rogue Wave w/ John Vanderslice.
(Photo: Misha Vladimirskiy/Analogrebels)
I was unable to see anything Noise Pop related on Thursday because I was DJing that night with Dan Black at 330 Ritch St. So, after a long LIVE 105 work day on Friday, I made my first stop of the night to Slim’s (another fine Bay Area music venue).
I love this place.
Jared and I met up to see a few songs from local boys The Limousines. Clearly, they’d been planning this show for a while. It was the first time I’d seen them with a drummer. Probably a smart move because they were playing on a large stage. Having live drums just makes everything sound bigger doesn’t it?! I didn’t stay for their whole set, but I hear that they played a New Order song.
After Slim’s, we trekked over to The Swedish Hall for some serious John Vanderslice action. This man is so charming and nice. He’s inspiring to be around and one day I hope to be as humble and happy as he seems to be.
After playing a few acoustic solo songs, Vanderslice invited his band mates to the stage. Let’s see, he had a drummer… I believe another guitar player and a saxophonist (!). Midway though, John held a raffle (!!). He gave out some rare pieces of vinyl and what-not. It was fun to see a performer line up a few hundred people in the middle of his show for raffle tickets, while running to the back bar to tip the bartenders and donate to The Bay Bridged.
Afterwords, in what was probably my highlight of the whole festival, John stood in the middle of the venue to perform two more songs. He was accompanied by a 30 piece choir. The harmonies and crowd sing-a-longs melted me. It was a special moment that I’d kill to have on video.
John Vanderslice in the middle of the audience.
I was on the LIVE 105 airwaves on Saturday night then spun at a club in the city, so I wasn’t able to see any Noise Pop shows.
Sunday was probably the day I looked forward to the most. Edward Sharpe & The Magnatic Zeros played Bimbo’s. In November, they were at The Great American Music Hall and it was probably my favorite concert experience of 2009.
These guys are great live. They are a 10 piece band who really bring out an interesting crowd. Essentially, they look like a bunch of dirty hippies (and so did half the audience). That’s totally not a bad thing, it’s just that… I bet their tour bus smells AWESOME. During their best song “Home“, a fan crowd surfed to the stage with a violin and the band allowed him to join in. It was a pretty cool moment to see a band so laid back and down for whatever, unlike that lame bald security guard at 111 Minna on Saturday night. Sorry. Quick tangent. I feel better now. That guy sucks.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.
Anyway, the band closed their set by inviting about 30 more fans on stage and asked that everyone sit down during the last song. It was sweet.
Although I didn’t feel like the energy or passion from the band was matched from their Great American show, it was pretty solid nonetheless. They are fun live.
And with that, another Noise Pop down. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts, if you made it this far you get a virtual hi-five. Thanks for reading -@MilesTheDJ