Noise Pop Wednesday: Ramona Falls, Social Studies, Harriet, Mahgeetah

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Noise Pop offered excellent mid-week options Wednesday, and while Rickshaw stop welcomed a post-hardcore bill headlined by Ceremony and Bottom of the Hill hosted local faves The Fresh & Onlys, the place to be Wednesday was at Brick & Mortar Music Hall, where the capacity crowd dug into indie rock with a tinge of electronica.

The Wednesday night Noise-Pop show glimmered with hopes and high expectations, as Ramona Falls & Social Studies showed off their road-perfected sets, Harriet got back in the live music game, and Mahgeetah showed that it’s bit foolish to arrive late during Noise Pop week.


Ramona Falls have a smiley stage presence and friendly vibe in a live setting that doesn’t prepare you for their hyper-charged, synth-serious sound aesthetic. Portland based Brent Knopf is the leading creative force behind Ramona Falls, and he expanded the project for his 2012 LP Prophet to include a full band in the recording process. Knopf’s warm voice and lyrical delivery is pleasantly reminiscent of Ben Gibbard (The Postal Service & Death Cab for Cutie) and John Darnielle (Mountain Goats).

And it’s a live treat that Ramona Falls is touring with violinist Lauren Jacobson. Her strings added an extra emotional layer that isn’t present on Prophet. Much of the school night crowd thinned out early, and they missed a stellar set.


Social Studies is a local SF group led by Natalia Rogovin, and her sultry vocals combined with her stunning, classic beauty will surely continue to elevate the group. They sound like slightly faster Beach house with an electronic jolt. Rogovin exhibits in-the-moment stage presence similar to Ruth Radelet from Chroamatics, and she is adept enough to guide auditory pleasure seekers into a hypnotic trance. Unfortunately, the drunk chick toward the front who continued to loudly proclaim “you’re killing it” and “keep going” at quiet moments did not allow herself to drift away with the chill waves.

The penultimate performers this night have been touring with Ramona Falls, and Rogovin made sure it was clear that they were happy to be home for Noise Pop. And since Social Studies are hometown heroes, it makes sense that they drew a denser audience than the headliners. Holler & swaller!


Contrasting Ramona Falls & Social Study’s endless touring, Harriet came to Noise Pop from LA with a fistful of new material never performed to a live audience. Based on this performance, Harriet is a band to keep both eyes on. Alex Casnoff’s stage banter is delightfully devious; he introduced a song by saying it is “about strippers you feel connected to after a lap dance.”

Casnoff promised an album to be released later this year, and it should be a good one.

Local SF group Mahgeetah were on fire when I walked in, but it was their last song of the night. They were thrashing away at a raging jam, finishing with a fuzzy wall of sound that was impressive. Instantly upon walking into Brick and Mortar I regretted leaving the house a bit late.

And to a certain degree, the opening acts are what Noise Pop week is all about. Most Noise Pop shows have two or three openers, and the supporting acts are almost exclusively from the best coast. If you can swing it, get to the venue early and discover an up-and-coming act.

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) tickest are somehow still available for Thursday night. Get ’em while you can. Don’t count on walking up to Great American Music Hall to buy tickets at the door.

Free Energy will be performing Thursday at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. Wednesday night’s B&M show sold out, so buy tickets while you can.



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