Tag Archives: festival

Beats n’ Stuff #9: Noise Poppin’

It’s Noise Pop Festival week, so for this edition of the Beats n’ Stuff playlist I’ll be spotlighting the best artists playing around the Bay Area for the festival, and why they’re worth your due attention.

For those not in the know, San Francisco’s Noise Pop Festival is an annual celebration of independent music, art, and film, and it’s now in its 23rd year (wow, that’s a long-ass time). Venues all around San Francisco and Oakland host shows under the Noise Pop moniker from February 20 to March 1, so right now it’s in full swing.

Have fun Noise Poppin’! I’ll see y’all at the Giraffage/Spazzkid show on Thursday.


1.) “Bother” – Les Sins

Les Sins is the slightly-experimental, electronic dance side project of Toro Y Moi’s Chazwick Bradley Bundick, created in an effort to give him more freedom in putting out all sorts of music. Les Sins is great: a lot more dance-y, a little less accessible and chillwave-friendly. If Les Sins’ Boiler Room set or FYF set (that I personally witnessed) is anything to judge by, then Bundick’s show at Oakland’s The New Parish is not to be missed.

Where & when to see Les Sins: The New Parish, with DJ Cali, DJ Dials; $20; Thurs. Feb. 26

2.) “Bloom feat. Manics” – NITEPPL

Local in both name and vibe, Gage Seber and Alton San Giovanni’s NITEPPL is a modern disco-pop project. Being a San Francisco local, it’s not hard to picture NITEPPL’s music soundtracking your house parties or even post-night-shift muni rides home. NITEPPL is an outfit for fans of Ed Banger-esque electronic music, for those wanting some funk in their electronic music.

Where & when to see NITEPPL: Rickshaw Stop, with Natural Curves, Tenderlion, Lemaitre; $15; Sat. Feb. 28

3.) “Daytime Disco (feat. Neon Bunny)” – Spazzkid

I’ve fallen into this bad habit of accidentally featuring musicians on these playlists twice, so I apologize for that, but it’s only because I really really want you to listen to them. Spazzkid is one of those “I’m sorry but you have to listen” artists. From earnest chill-electronic to the more pop-enthused singles he’s released of the past year, Spazzkid is one of the most well-rounded electronic musicians of today. I had the pleasure of seeing him open for Daedelus a few months ago, and it was absolutely splendid, so much so that I’ll be seeing him open for yet another great act, Giraffage, this Thursday. While the show is sold out, if you have a Noise Pop badge you can get in no problem.

Where & when to see Spazzkid: The Independent, with Avidd, Glenn Jackson, Giraffage; $18 (SOLD OUT); Thurs. Feb. 26 

4.) “The Lovers’ Suicide” – The Bilinda Butchers

San Francisco-based dream pop band The Bilinda Butchers have been active in the music scene for years, releasing an album on Los Angeles-based netlabel Zoom Lens in the past, and most recently releasing Heaven, their newest full-length, a concept album about a young woman living in 19th century Japan. In releasing a chillwave-y record in 2014, a genre that is pretty tired at this point, I was caught completely by surprise by TBB’s Heaven. It’s not only dreamy, but it’s unique and remember-able, and that’s reason enough to keep paying attention.

Where & when to see The Bilinda Butchers: Great American Music Hall, with Balms, Cotillon, Craft Spells; $16; Wed. Feb. 25

5.) “Pantyhose” by TV Girl

TV Girl is a lo-fi indie rock band hailing from Los Angeles. They sing a lot about love, lust, and basically just that. TV Girl are easily the most un-electronic group on this playlist, making them an anomaly compared to my other Noise Pop picks for this year. If you wanna stand in a stuffy room and nod your head and shuffle your feet, I recommend catching TV Girl’s Noise Pop set, and if you dare: dance a little. Show that crowd how it’s done.

Where & when to see TV Girl: Brick & Mortar Music Hall, with RZN8R, Yalls, Monster Rally; $10; Wed. Feb. 25

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2014 Recap

Yo La Tengo performs at the Arrow stage at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Photo under  Creative Commons by btwashburn
Yo La Tengo performs at the Arrow stage at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.
Photo under Creative Commons by btwashburn

Festival Review: Friday Recap

By Airha Dominguez

With temperatures in the nineties, festival-goers walk barefoot on the grass, refill their bottled waters, and reapply sunscreen after each performance. Thousands have gathered at Golden Gate Park for day one of the fourteenth annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival started back in 2001, when founder Herman Warren, worked with other San Francisco organizers to create a festival that celebrated music. Originally, the festival was one day, one stage, and twelve performances. Now, the festival is a three-day long event, with seven stages and 120 performances.  This year’s performers include popular headliners like Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes, Social Distortion, and Ryan Adams.

Yo La Tengo, an indie rock band from New Jersey, was one of many artists who performed Friday night at the Arrow Stage. Ira Kaplan, the vocalist and guitarist of the band, played his electric guitar passionately, closing his eyes and focusing on the music while fans danced. 

Alternative country star, Ryan Adams, performed with a more romantic tone at the Banjo Stage. Adams performed, “Come Pick Me Up,” the melodramatic ballad from his debut solo album, Heartbreaker.

Friday’s festival gathered a diverse audience, from college students to families with their kids.

Sofia Mehta, a country music lover, made her own schedule of the bands she wanted to see, and kept the sheet of paper folded in her wallet.

“My friends like different music, but everyone comes to see different musicians,” she said. “I’m here to see John Prine who is a legend of the country music.”

Jennifer Adrian, a San Francisco resident, said this was her first time attending this event. She waited to see Ryan Adams perform.

“It’s crowded, but everyone is very respectful,” she says.

The crowd during Built to Spill’s performance at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival Saturday October 4, 2014. (Martin Bustamante/ Xpress Magazine)

Festival Review: Overall Recap

By Calla Camero

Fans made the most of San Francisco’s heat this past weekend by attending the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park. Temperatures reached a record high on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the heatwave and festival were in sync perfectly with one another to bring the city’s residents together.

The lineup this year did not disappoint as classic bands like Social Distortion, Poor Man’s Whiskey, The Aquabats!, Built to Spill, Whograss, Deltron 3030 with the 3030 Orchestra and more, joined one another to produce not just bluegrass-folk-dancing music, but also headbangers and rock anthems alike. The fourteenth annual music festival has certainly extended its genres beyond its early bands of “strictly” folk and bluegrass.

Doug Martsch (guitar) and Steve Gere (drums), of band Built to Spill, perform at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival Saturday October 4, 2014. ( Martin Bustamante/Xpress Magazine)
Doug Martsch (guitar) and Steve Gere (drums), of band Built to Spill, perform at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival Saturday October 4, 2014. ( Martin Bustamante/Xpress Magazine)

The change in music did not seem to bother the audience. According to promoters, the festival drew an estimated crowd of 750,000 people joining in on some free music, free sunbathing, and extremely expensive food. Nevertheless, people of all ages showed up. The audience included a mix people, from an older crowd and college students, to families with moms and dads jamming together with their children, many of which couldn’t sit still due to all the commotion. It seemed as though the whole city was there for a good three days together.

Attendees dressed accordingly for the classic San Francisco event despite the extreme heatwave. A woman was seen wearing ram horns whilst holding a wine cooler and jamming out to Built to Spill. A man in a sequence and rainbow onesie, all pulled together with a silver cane made an appearance at the (very fitting) Gold Stage on Saturday afternoon. There were tons of aloha shirts, flower headbands and flower crowns, since this is San Francisco after all.

Overall, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass weekend had a great turnout, despite the expensive food, blistering heat, and the Giants game to distract from bringing people together and remembering what the festival really represents. Good music and good people.

Good vibes and music take over Haight Street

DJ Apollo spinning records at the First Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
DJ Apollo spinning records at the First Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)

Throngs of people flocked to Haight Street on Sunday for the 1st Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Festival.

For the adults, there were drink specials at the many bars along Haight Street, an impromptu car show, and three musical stages featuring local artists and DJs. Bigger names like Talib Kweli and Erykah Badu also made appearances to DJ for the massive crowds.

“We have closed down the streets, we’re not allowing any outside vendors because we want people to really come and shop and spend their money on the merchants on Haight Street instead of having outside vendors,” said Katrina Belda, who was providing event information to guests in addition to passing out free balloons to younger festival attendees.

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  • Overall shot of the First Annual Haight St. Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
  • 49er fan poses with a street performer at the First Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
  • Nicky Diamonds (center) at the First Annual Haight Street Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
  • Orly Locquiao (bottom left) setting up a booth at the First Annual Haight St. Music and Merchants Street Festival on Sunday September 7, 2014 (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)

Sponsors FTC, Pink + Dolphin, Diamond Supply Co., and Derby SF orchestrated the inaugural event, and saw that Haight Street from Stanyan to Masonic blocked from traffic. There were activities for all ages, including bounce houses, the aforementioned free balloons, and face painting stations.

The mix of activities brought families, street-wear enthusiasts, and curious neighborhood residents out to the event, which felt more like a huge block party than a festival.

After one DJ opted to play a song with a few curse words in it, he apologized. “They want me to keep it clean and family friendly – which I will, after this song.”

“We do plan to do this annually, and hopefully if this year is good we can keep doing it every year,” said Belda.
Clothing retailers Diamond Supply Co. and Pink + Dolphin, who are both relatively new to Haight – Diamond Supply Co., opened for business in August and Pink + Dolphin will be celebrating their one year anniversary in October – coordinated exclusive merchandise releases in honor of the festival.

The first hundred people in the blocks-long line in front of Pink + Dolphin were rewarded with tickets that granted them access to the exclusive gear the shop was selling.

FTC, which has been in its space at 1632 Haight Street for over 20 years, hosted both skate and BMX demos for curious onlookers.

The festival  – not to be confused with the Haight Ashbury Street Fair that has happened every summer for the last 37 years  – was a collaborative effort between older Haight Street businesses and the newcomers to the street.

And unlike the Haight Ashbury Street Fair, which brings in outside food and merchandise vendors, organizers of the Music and Merchants Festival wanted the event to benefit, well, Haight Street merchants.

Recap: SF’s Street Food Festival

Photos by Hillary Smith and Catherine Uy

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  • Beef pho rolls from Rice Paper Scissors. Photo by Catherine Uy
  • Azalina's meatball sub was hearty and delicious, according to one attendee. Photo by Hillary Smith
  • Salumeria's fried chicken drew a constant line of hungry customers throughout the festival. Photo by Hillary Smith
  • Mexican macaroons with chocolate from La Victoria Bakery Corp. Photo by Catherine Uy
  • The food festival brought out an array of colorful street performers. This man, for example, dressed as a giant dancing skeleton. Photo by Catherine Uy
  • Asian street food truck Chairman served authentic steam and baked buns nonstop at the annual event. But Chairman is also known for its pork burgers, which are sweet and delicious, this couple said. Photo by Hillary Smith
  • A cook from Kama Food Lab prepares “super samosas.” Photo by Catherine Uy
  • A musician entertains festival-goers as they wait in line for their food. Photo by Catherine Uy
  • Cholita Linda' Peruvian street food tent was quick at serving up freshly made carne asada and baja fish tacos, which were ordered almost every minute. Photo by Hillary Smith

Last Saturday, thousands gathered to celebrate La Cocina’s 6th Annual (and final) Street Food Festival. The widely anticipated event took place in the Mission District, and showcased more than 80 Bay Area vendors. With free admission, delicious food, and drinks at cheap prices, it was every foodie’s dream come true.

As a fellow foodie, I felt obligated to try almost every food truck and stand. The variety of food available included everything from El Sur’s braised short rib empanadas to Rice Paper Scissors’ beef pho rolls. I cried a little inside after I finished eating El Sur’s empanadas. They were light, fluffy, and bursting with flavor. The beef pho rolls from Rice Paper Scissors were a unique twist on Vietnamese spring rolls. Instead of using rice paper, beef and lettuce were wrapped in thick rice noodles. It tastes exactly like you are eating a bowl of beef pho, but without the broth and extra toppings.

According to the event’s website, this was La Cocina’s last street food festival. Word is that they’re looking for another location to host their epic block party. So, if you missed out on last weekend, don’t fret! Most of the vendors are from San Francisco. Here’s a list of our top 8 favorite vendors and where to find them on a regular basis.

  1. Rice Paper Scissors   1710 Mission Street 
  2. El Sur  Check their website for the van’s schedule.
  3. Namu Street Food Thursdays and Saturdays at the Ferry Building.
  4. 4505 Meats  1909 Mission Street
  5. Curry Up Now  659 Valenica Street
  6. A16 2355 Chestnut St
  7. Tacolicious 741 Valencia Street
  8. The Chairman Truck  Check their website for the truck’s weekly schedule.

Outside Lands 2014: Festival Style & Trends

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  • Summer dresses and floppy hats are must-haves this season. Hadiha Nayebi pairs hers with an array of bohemian accessories and cutout ankle booties.
  • A knee-high socks and dress combo gives Andrea Rocca's outfit a retro feel.
  • Instead of wearing the usual denim cut-offs, Mikayla Wasiri rocks floral shorts.
  • Xpress Magazine Writer, Farnoush Amiri, looks boho chic in a crochet lace crop top and floral pants.
  • Summer hats give Talia Kalwani and her friend Erica Soto a '70s vibe.

San Franciscans and avid festival-goers came together for one last weekend before the end of the summer season for the 2014 Outside Lands music festival.

Undeterred by the cooling temperatures and the return of the ineludible fog, fashion enthusiasts swayed to headliners like Kanye West and the Killers while rocking crotchet tops, army jackets and printed bottoms.

While attending tastings at Wine Lands, getting henna tattooed and enjoying a set by local band, Grouplove, women of all ages rocked their best hipster/bohemian/San Franciscan looks that would only be socially acceptable at an event like this.

The overall theme of the seventh annual music festival was comfort, comfort and more comfort.

Unlike festivals such as Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival, locals and out-of-towners came ready for the ever-changing Bay Area weather. The key to surviving this three-day, non-stop fest was layers.

As the early afternoon bands took their places at the Panhandle and Twin Peaks stages, attendees rocked out in Summer-appropriate gear but as the Super Moon and headliners like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came out, so did the beanies and cargo jackets.

One trend that was parading through the seven stages at the iconic Golden Gate Park was the ’70s printed bell-bottoms. This trend gave the music fan enough comfort to jump up and down to Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis while keeping warm and making a statement.

If you live in San Francisco or in any city that has four seasons (unlike Los Angeles), tights are a staple in any female’s wardrobe — instantly making a skirt and crop top cold weather appropriate.

August brings the Bay Area chill on in full force, and many festival-goers relied on trusty tights to avoid catching pneumonia while maintaining their festival style.

In any weather, Golden Gate Park’s thousand-plus acres of hills and mystical forests can get down and dirty, whether you are wandering aimlessly through the Digital Detox or running from the Killers stage to Tiesto’s light show.

The solution to the endless dirt and grass stains for this year’s attendees were boots of all styles and colors. The classic black bootie could be seen on almost every other flower child that weaved through the crowd of more than one-hundred thousand attendees on each night of the festival.

The last trend that (literally) capped off “festival fashion” season was an array of neutral colored fedoras and floppy hats that could be found flouncing on the heads of girls and boys alike over the three-day fest. This year-round appropriate accessory aided concert-goers from the rare rays of sunshine that blessed the music event and kept them a bit warmer as night fell.

With their flower crowns, knee-high socks, band-tees and fringe overload in tow, the people of Outside Lands enjoyed one of the best line-ups of any festival this summer, but made sure to stand out through the fog with their festive style that will sure be outdone next year.