Written by Nadine Quitania
Photos by Tony Santos
In the Bay Area, the Noise Pop Festival is not only for new music discoveries, (the opening bands this year were insane) but also love and respect for the ones that have been around for much longer. Organizers also show their appreciation for everyone evolved in the festival – from poster artists to their photographers, and the volunteers looked like they had it pretty sweet too.
There’s no doubt that music beats at the heart of Noise Pop, but I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing to cohesively tie the festival into a nice, pretty package.
Pre-festivities started with Courtney Barnett wrapping up her US tour playing for a sold-out show at the Rickshaw Stop with Fever the Ghost, Kins, and Rich Girls. The opening night party at the NWBLK the next day was just that – a party. People mingled and got their drink on while Bob Mould, Shepard Fairey, and Jello Biafra took turns at the DJ booth, with anime playing on the screen behind them.
The crowd and photographers at the Fillmore were getting antsy while the crew was setting up the stage and making sure all the instruments were ready to go for Lord Huron after the Superhumanoids set. Their set included tracks from their debut album Lonesome Dreams, and several others, keeping the energy high and the crowd movin’ throughout the night.
DJ Aaron Axelson filled in the time between sets, easing the restless crowd waiting for ASTR and Broods to start at Rickshaw Stop on Thursday night. For a late start, his sick mixes kept people busy. Adam Pallin of ASTR appeared first to get the show started, with Zoe Silverman showing up after, bringing loads of energy with her badass attitude. The duo played songs from their Varsity EP and a cover of Drake’s “Hold on We’re Going Home.”
“Operate that shit!” one crowd member yelled, when Silverman announced they would be playing their last song, which indeed turned out to be their track titled “Operate.”
Broods, the brother-sister duo from New Zealand was on the second stop of their short US tour when they played to the packed house after the ASTR set. James Mataio accompanied the pair on drums, joining them on tour.
“We love San Fran. It reminds us a little of home,” Georgia Nott says to the excited crowd.
The set was short but sweet due to their unfinished album, which is set to be released at the end of the year and is halfway completed, according to Caleb.. They played songs from their EP, a cover of Empire of the Sun’s “We are the People,” along with a solo track from Georgia. There’s no doubt the Nott siblings are going to blow up in the future.
This year’s festival was lacking in the usual amounts of art, which was missed by those attending the show. San Franpsycho, on Divisadero, was the place to be this year, before Real Estate’s gig up the street at The Independent. The store has worked with Noise Pop in the past housed the “Women Who Rock” photography show this year. Photos of singer Charity Rose Thealin, of The Head and the Heart, Thao, St.Vincent, and Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells were some of the works on display.
Co-owner Christian Routzen screenprinted a limited-edition print by Paige Parsons, a Noise Pop photographer, on t-shirts brought in by customers, with the print even making it onto a pillow, done by Andy Olive, the other owner of the shop. Photos on display from previous festivals ranged from $75-$325, all done by Noise Pop photographers
The setting at the NWBLK for Yours Truly’s “The Days are Short and the Nights are Yours” exhibition set the mood for the intimate affair with its co-founders, Will and Bob, sharing the history and evolution with back stories to the music videos screened and how they’ve evolved. Photographs of artists they’ve worked with, letters, and postcards papered one wall. Several video screened included Lee Fields, Willis Earl Beal, Mikal Cronin, Little Dragon, Chairlift, and an exclusive screening with Moses Sumney. Sumney, who opened for Dr. Dog at the Warfield, made a guest appearance to talk about how he heard about Yours Truly and presented a brand new video he worked on with Yours Truly. The video is now online.
Noise Pop ended as it began, but bigger – literally. With the right side of the NWBLK was opened for the closing party, that left more floor space for the DJ Dials and Machinedrum set who closed out the festival. From virtual unknowns to the festival guests, new fans can gain their early-adopter points by now saying “I saw them at Noise Pop,” when the band makes it big.
Mistaken For Strangers
Despite the inclimate weather, fans weren’t deterred from flocking to the Roxie Theater for the sold-out screening of the Mistaken For Strangers documentary, directed by Tom Berninger. Described primarily as a film about the band The National, it’s more than that.
The documentary focuses on the relationship of the Berninger brothers when Tom was invited by Matt (lead singer of The National) to join them on tour as a crewmember. Featuring music and videos from the tour in Europe, the documentary shows Tom’s journey to completing the film. We witness Matt play the big brother role trying to keep Tom focused. “My brother gave me a gift with this film and I hope I was able to give him one back,” Tom said, when introducing the film.
Mistaken for Strangers will leave you in hysterics–when it’s not bringing you to tears. You don’t have to be a fan of The National to enjoy this film, which premieres in theaters and in iTunes on Mar. 28.