It's over! And we all feel like we didn't quite see as much as we would have liked. Ain't that always the case for we, the pop neurotic? We came. We drank. We rocked. We nodded our heads with our arms folded loosely about ourselves. We stumbled home. We got damp. We didn't quite conquer, but when we managed to get into the club, we felt that strange, ineffable sense of accomplishment.
Popping open an internal reporter's notebook, I threw together a few highlights from my not-quite-embedded week in Noise Pop's world:
The Lips have a lock on SF hearts.
Word has it that beaucoup bucks were being passed for Flaming Lips ticks on Noise Pop's opening night at Bimbo's. How nice to finally get inside, out of the drizzle -- and to find the special edition silk-screened Lips poster also sold out. Stardeath and white dwarfs -- including Lips frontperson Wayne Coyne's nephew sporting a skin-tight, alluring green costume -- opened with palate-tickling psych.
After a short set-up break, Coyne read the proclamation from the San Francisco Mayor's Office, naming March 27 through April 2, 2006, Noise Pop Week. Then all hell, balloons, and costumed Santa's helpers broke loose. Don't you miss those cozy, not-so-quiet shows in parking lots?
I'd include a pic of Steven Drodz deep-throating a mic, but I should keep it clean for all those soccer moms out there.
Balloons must be free.
Later, Coyne launched into an anti-Bush admin monologue. We're with you, guy -- I just got the slight, ever-so-slight impression that he uses those same lines on all the states, both red and blue. "We got to make it popular to be gay, smoke pot, and have abortions!" he shouted. Say it loud -- say it proud.
The next night at Bimbo's, Feist managed to gracefully skirt a PA outage, refusing to stop the show and singing a few tunes a cappella. Her drummer, however, threw a hissy fit and stomped off at one point. "We love you, Ringo," yelled one onlooker. Hey, dude, the Beatles broke up years ago.
Jason Collett resembles the dapper bastard son of Peter Wolf
and Willy DeVille, no?
Feist was name-checked by her Broken Social Scene bandmate Jason Collett, who rolled out some nice 4/4 rock songcraft Friday night at Cafe du Nord. He paid tribute to his bad-seed years hanging at the mall and even unleashed some goofy, little soft-shoe. Brroooo -- I mean, Jaaaaaasss...
Saturday day: It warmed the cockles of my dark lil' heart to see so many turn out for the lady-dominated Indie Night School panel on music journalism, or how to get your CD reviewed (well, we hope).
On Saturday night, we hunkered down at Bottom of the Hill for a full night of hard rock with headliners Wolfmother. Portland's Danava impressed with their mix of '70s-referencing hard prog and '80s-tinged crazed keys. What decade are we in? We had to admit -- it was original.
A lotta Danava.
Wolfmother are good at what they do -- rocking the house with a mix of Detroit rock, ala the Stooges and MC5, along with, natch, Sabbath. I just wish it they didn't seem so studied -- just a feeling you got watching the bassist go through his not-breaking-a-sweat moves.
That's no puppy -- that's my band mate! Brightblack Morning Light at Great American Music Hall.
Sunday night wound down with Vetiver, Brightblack Morning Light, Neil Halstead, and Peggy Honeywell at Great American Music Hall. This show was notable for the sheer number of indie folkies sitting on the floor. No standing room only, goddammit. If only we were all reclining -- that would complete the cool-down vibe of the fest's final night.
Halstead forgot the words to one of his songs but was lovely nonetheless. Mojave who? Brightblack was stirring --showing off some slow, swinging folk-jazz fusion chops.
One interesting trend, apparent also at the recent His Name Is Alive show at Cafe du Nord: minion-like band members who sit on the stage like pets. Maybe the sitting thing was simply spreading, like a virus. But does anyone realize that these people are pretty much invisible to most of the room? Additionally these mascot-like stage sitters are usually women, who tend to look shy, servile, and childlike down there. Aw, c'mon, raise 'em up to where they belong.
All photos by Kimberly Chun.