Noise Pop 2014 has come and gone, and what a jam-packed week of music and merriment it was. This week-long festival event is spread out amongst the 22 finest venues in the Bay Area, making for one of the best extended independent music showcases around.
The Bam Team was on the scene throughout, capturing the many memorable moments — take a look at our show recaps and photos below!
Photo by Kory Thibeault //
Saturday night was a much anticipated one as the City descended upon the Warfield to get their dose of Dr. Dog. “Live in the Tenderloin” read a sign on stage, a nod to the neighborhood and a proclamation that they knew more about San Francisco than one would expect. And that is certainly how the night felt — Dr. Dog knew its audience and exactly what they wanted to hear. —Kory Thibeault
Photos by Sterling Munksgard //
Real Estate played to a solemn, respectfully immersed Independent Friday for their first full show of their North American tour. Sure the indie-rockers played their yet-to-be released record Atlas in its entirety near their home turf in New York Thursday, but they chose Noise Pop Fest to debut their very square stage setup. —Mike Frash
“I don’t give a fuck about Noise Pop,” said surly 47-year-old control freak Mark Kozelek at Great American Music Hall Satuday, one of the first piercing, dry stage banter remarks he made. Always honest and amusing in an odd way, much like his music, Kozelek turned between-song breaks into hilarious and awkward moments as a matter of routine. —Mike Frash
Photos by Marc Fong //
A perfect end to an epic festival, Rogue Wave delivered as a closing act, demonstrating excellent showmanship & exciting crowd interaction, fluidly transitioning out of the daytime hours into what the band had promised to deliver from the start — a performance that “felt like a night show” all along. —Molly Kish
An extensive bill of varied rock flavor, Saturday night’s line up at Slim’s had a little bit of something for everyone. Kicking off the evening, local duo Happy Fangs got the crowd amped with their juxtapositional noise-laden synth pop. Rebecca Gone Bad’s vocals penetrated through the brick walls of the venue, audible to the crowd lined up outside amidst the evenings’ partial showers. Next up to the stage, Dirty Ghosts shredded their way through a set of new material and crowd favorites, calling for their guitar levels to be raised so they can properly “rock the fuck out” of the weekend crowd. Painted Palms, brought a different type of temperament to the line-up, focusing their set around the band’s less dance driven tracks, epically stretching out their material into extended jams driven by cousins Reese Donohue and Chris Prudhomme, backed by a full band. Cold Cave closed out the evening with his brooding set of dark-wave synth pop, debuting new material off of his 2014 album Sunflower and utilizing the show as a warm up for his upcoming summer tour with NIN. —Molly Kish
This night of progressive dance and bass music was a long time in the making, and the results were not disappointing as those faithful to underground music were treated to this Teklife/DMZ doubleheader. DJ Rashad brought his own style to the stage, presenting the hyped crowd with his own unique brand of dance music that goes by ‘footwork,’ a variant offshoot of juke and ghetto house. The highly rhythmic tracks were a delight to those wanting to show off their fancy dance moves before the “bass bath” that is Digital Mystikz. Though Rashad was killing it, he seemed reluctant to hand over the decks to the duo of Mala and Coki.
Dubstep and bass music fans in San Francisco finally got to experience the heaviness that is South London’s Digital Mystikz after years of waiting (and canned dates). They were rewarded with a straight vinyl set that had the two switching off dubplates every so often. The speakers flexed and breathed as an array of frequencies poured out, showcasing a slower tempo than Rashad. Mala played heavy on roots tracks while Coki spun his characteristic style of aggressive bass. Coki seems to be taking his musical career more seriously as he debuted a handful of bangers that are sure to make their way onto wax and various mix sets. “Anti-War Dub”, a legendary track, demonstrated their agenda as bass music with a message. “Gangster for Life” was a highlight for the amped crowd as many put their hands in the air and sand along to Movado’s vocal sample before dropping into some seriously filthy rhythms and sub-bass. Mala’s “Miracles” was featured towards the end of the set as the faithful were disappointed to see DMZ’s late start not be rewarded on the back end with an extra 10 minutes. —Kevin Quandt
One of the more hyped, international artists on the Noise Pop bill was the rising stars that are Cheatahs. Though the band was marred by poor sound early in the set, they rallied to crush the second half of their set as the crowd began to open up to their sound. Charging out of LA for nearly a decade, No Age two weave the post-punk sentiment of Fugazi with a wall of sound volume that shakes you to your core. The “adult” crowd got a rare treat as No Age generally play all ages shows that quickly turn into frenetic chaos. —Kevin Quandt
The 80’s haven’t sounded this good since…well, ever. Com Truise intertwines reworked 80’s synth samples with modern sensibilities and the result induces random outbreaks of dancing in crowds. Buoyed by a new lighting rig that dominated the stage, Truise’s downtempo productions come across as more powerful and engaging than the recordings. Though the west coast leg of his tour is finished, having just released the first part of a planned series albums, hopefully he’ll pop back up sooner than later. Steve Wandrey
El Ten Eleven with Mattson 2, Pale Blue Dot //
The New Parish — Oakland, CA
February 28, 2014 //
The self-proclaimed “power duo” from Los Angeles created an immense sound with the aid of a looper and heavily modulated effects. Wielding a doubleneck guitar/bass combo, El Ten Eleven’s experimental sound was polished and fresh, never drifting into monotony, which looper pedals can sometimes do. —Kevin Raos
San Francisco’s Papercuts finished the night with a slightly more subdued set, especially when compared to Vetiver and the Donkeys, and the crowd had thinned a bit as the ‘school night curse’ fell over the headliner. —Kevin Quandt
The Fresh & Only’s lead singer, Tim Cohen, who is strangely reminiscent of Danny McBride in his humor, cracked jokes between songs. The locally beloved band declared, “We are San Francisco, or we were San Francisco, or San Francisco was us.” The crowd seemed to eat up the commentary on the general culture shift happening around them in the City. —Katy Meacham
Photo by Tom Dellinger //
After their set of about an hour and a half, it was confirmed that this was one of those performances that will be well remembered. Surely, The Soft White Sixties are destined to launch onto larger stages and broader success as a band. Ready and poised, all the ingredients are there. —Tom Dellinger