Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 20th-March 1st, 2015 //
2015 marked the Bay Area’s 23rd annual celebration of independent music, art, film and more, affectionately known as Noise Pop. Running 12 full days and taking place at more than 20 different venues throughout SF and the East Bay, this marathon party is best described as the West Coast version of South by Southwest.
Each year, Noise Pop highlights both the biggest stars within the independent music and art industries as well as emerging artists performing at the peak of their games and has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to booking their acts — and this year was no exception. Curating a demographic of music fans with limitless knowledge, expectations and preferential ranges, this festival never fails to create some of the most memorable experiences in live entertainment throughout the Bay Area.
Noise Pop remains one of our favorite times of the year, not only for its amazing lineups and exceptional performances, but also for its genuine ability to bring music and lifestyle connoisseurs from across the globe to extrapolate, communicate and participate in the independent culture of the Bay Area.
Here are some of our favorite moments from Noise Pop 2015.
Most Likely to Have a Hospital Bill: Ben Gibbard
Gibbard enlisted Sun Kill Moon’s Mark Kozelek to play guitar for him after breaking his wrist before his big opening night performance at the Swedish American Music Hall. We’re still surprised the notorious shit talker (Kozelek) didn’t give Gibbard a harder time about it, considering the last song off Kozelek’s Benji is titled “Ben’s My Friend” and is about how Kozelek went to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley to watch Gibbard play with The Postal Service before proceeding to have a mental breakdown.
Runner-up: PPL MVR
This second-place honor goes to SNWBLL after the band had to cancel its performance at Bottom of the Hill due to some unfortunate bladder issues.
Most Likely to Inspire 2015 Festival Fashion: The Black Ryder
Dark, brooding and beautifully tragic. Beyond the torrid love affair story and musical diatribe to accompany the duo of Aimee Nash and Scott Van Ryper, the band embodies its self-proclaimed “Rhinestone Drone” sound into a wicked wardrobe, guaranteed to materialize on the proverbial polo fields across the nation this summer.
The Vancouver outfit brought some creativity to the merch table with fun and functional band gear, such as koozies and friendship bracelets, as you can see here via Instagram.
Most Bar-Raising Performance of the Festival: Kindness
“(Adam) Bainbridge grabbed one audience member’s cell phone out of its hands and filmed himself as well as the crowd with it at one point, elevating the crowd-interaction a notch. He sang from on top of the bar at stage left, walked into the crowd with his mic and made a huge lap while singing to individuals in the audience to end the night.”
Act Most Likely to Prompt a Mind-Altering Freak Out: Dan Deacon
“Layer upon insane layer of sound interprets into harmonious infectiousness, a feat that hints at an intersection of mathematical and creative genius. The guy takes all sorts of frequencies and cross sections of genre elements and composes it all together into a crescendo of weird, atypical pop. And by weird, I mean the very good kind of weird.”
Runner-up: Holly Herndon
“People laughed nervously as a slow burn of glitch sounds began to emerge, and before you knew it, her browsing gave way to an interactive, virtual world featuring two-dimensional cutouts of people floating about while strategically-placed cameras around the room recorded and projected images of the crowd, usually catching them unexpectedly on their phones, on two adjacent screens.”
Most Entertaining Attempt at a Cover Song: Surfer Blood
These guys covered “Hey Sandy” by Polaris, aka the theme song for “The Adventures of Pete & Pete.”
Runner-up: Girrafage‘s rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”
Most Likely to Be Headlining Future Festivals: Caribou
Absolutely destroying two back-to-back, sold-out nights at The Fillmore, Caribou’s live show is currently on a world tour, hitting all of the largest festival stages in its wake. We unanimously believe that this act will be one of the biggest of 2015 and are keeping our fingers crossed that they will be filling the empty spot in their August tour schedule with a stop at this year’s Outside Lands Music Festival.
Runner-up: Flight Facilities
“… to consider booking this lineup on a ‘school night’ at a venue with a max capacity of 1,424 people was a pretty bold call. Subsequently though, it was also one that paid off in easily the largest dance party of the festival.”
Most Likely to Break the “Local Music” Barrier: Les Sins
“Intermingling his own material with disco classics, 90’s pop jams and dirty trap beats, Bundick had the crowd on fire and easily could have prolonged the party well into the after hours had there been the option to do so.”
With a doctored lineup and powerful new songwriting approach, Mike Deni has taken full reign of the band’s beloved history of material and is moving forward into bold, uncharted territory — a leap of faith that just might cover the extra ground needed to penetrate a mainstream audience.