Noise Pop 2019: Celebrating Bay Area indie culture with great music & a whole lot more

Noise Pop 2019 - Caroline Rose


Caroline Rose

Photos by Mike Rosati, Norm de Veyra & Marc Fong // Written by Kevin Quandt & Ryan Bright //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 25th-March 3rd, 2019 //

Another epic edition of Noise Pop is now in the history books, and we were there to witness much of the action. Here are a few of our favorite moments, plus a ton of photos, from 2019.

Coke

With a name like Coke, you’d hope this SF band would be loud and wild enough, even with a 7 p.m. hit time, and they were. Playing their second-to-last show before losing a key member to the East Coast, they proved rock is not dead and that it generally sounds best in medium-sized bars full of your friends. – KQ

In the Valley Below

It has been a hot minute since the duo of Jeffrey Jacob and Angela Gail released their widely acclaimed debut album and supported it with multiple late-night appearances that saw them play their breakthrough hit “Peaches”. Their slow return to the stage hasn’t stopped this pair from performing some powerful indie pop that set the stage perfectly for Albert Hammond Jr. on a Wednesday night at The Independent. The live-expanded twosome also delivered select cuts from their forthcoming sophomore release The Pink Chateau, which will also feature an accompanying “motion picture companion.” Certainly appearing to be a comeback year for the Michigan-based group and a packed room at the Independent would likely agree. – KQ

Albert Hammond Jr.

Hammond Jr. is an explosive performer, and his Noise Pop show at The Independent was no exception. Relying heavily on his 2018 release Francis Trouble, his live effort showcased his frontman stature and musical abilities apart from his cohorts in The Strokes. Interestingly enough, the album explores the stillborn death of his twin brother and a recent reckoning that part of Francis’ fingernail was actually born alongside him. Despite the LP’s macabre topic, songs like “Far Away Truths” really conveyed Hammond’s raw energy as he jumped right into the crowd, mic in hand, for a cathartic mosh pit. – RB

Bob Mould Band


Bob Mould Band

Bob Mould Band

Bob Mould has had a lengthy, fruitful relationship with Noise Pop and the packed Fillmore demonstrated that in spades after recently releasing his rather well-received, and 13th, solo album Sunshine Rock since disbanding Hüsker Dü and intersplicing Sugar releases. Mould is nearing the age of 60, but you’d be hard-pressed to think that when he frantically paces back and forth onstage while firing off his characteristic take of punk-leaning alternative rock. “In a Free Land” and “Something I Learned Today” were Hüsker Dü highlights, while “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” and “Hoover Dam” represented a handful of Sugar cuts that the balding frontman belted out. Mould recently moved to Berlin from SF, but any longtime Bay Area fan can sleep well knowing he’ll always return to give us a dose of his infectious punk rock. – KQ

Film School

While it has been almost 20 years since Gerg Bertens initially formed Film School, the band has continued to keep a strong relationship with Noise Pop. Many consider the five-piece’s 2016 Noise Pop shows at Bottom of the Hill to be its grand return after hanging it up in 2011, and this year’s well-attended opening set showed that they can still whip up some polished alternative shoegaze. “Two in Sun” shined bright, and many of us hope this California outfit sticks around and rides the wave of the current shoegaze revival. – KQ

Beirut

After taking several years off, Zach Condon’s project Beirut returned this year with a new album titled Gallipoli and an international tour that included a stop at the Fox Theater in Oakland for Noise Pop. While Beirut’s career-spanning set might have been a nostalgia trip for some, the musicianship and multi-instrumentation were the real highlights of the night. They managed to make their unique brand of “world” music, which features Balkan, polka, mariachi and francophone influences, feel inviting, warm and triumphant thanks to subtle textures of the accordion, ukulele, trumpet, Moog synthesizer, piano and Condon’s unique satiny vocal stylings. For me, new songs like “Landslide” and “We Never Lived Here” stood out just as strongly as fan favorites “Elephant Gun” and “Nantes” — and the entire crowd’s response indicated that as well. – RB

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