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Friday, April 12, 2024

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MusicMusic ReviewNoise Pop rewind: So, how did the giant music...

Noise Pop rewind: So, how did the giant music fest do this year?

Surging local talent, national praise, unusual venues—and a couple suggestions for next year from our music critic

Adapt or die. Three words that always tell it, even when you don’t want to hear it.

Noise Pop made significant moves this year. 

No numerical figures have been supplied as pertain to overall attendees at the 10-day-long, multi-venue music festival, but their choices spoke clearly. Noise Pop partners opened their filter to accommodate what was coming and what transpired musically in the recent past… And that worked swimmingly.

I’m pretty sure they knew they had a rad line-up to boot. From the outside looking in, national outlets praised the presence of: Suzanne Ciani at Grace Cathedral, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at Curran Theater, Spiritual Cramp at Rickshaw Stop. Significant events for those not familiar with the inside of the burrito, if you will.  Those not very familiar with the well-established music scene that is constantly thriving at local venues.

Suzanne Ciani performed at Grace Cathedral for Noise Pop. Photo by Jon Bauer

But for local patrons to see their community, play alongside the likes of Actress, Lætitia Sadier, Snail Mail, DEHD, Rochelle Jordan, Ben UFO, DJ Tennis, Alice Glass, Kendra Morris, and such. That’s the goosebumps territory that Noise Pop has always excelled at. 

Local talent, surging, getting that show to play alongside international talent on their known home turf. In front of friends, family, peers, and in the venues they play in throughout the year when not touring.

Seablite at the Chapel for Noise Pop

That was Seablite this year at The Chapel–”the crown jewel of independent live music in the Mission.” Our glimmer-shoegaze outfit played a crowning and decisive set in the opening slot in support of Lætitia Sadier. This packed audience had the opportunity to take in both: a surging band lifting off, and the indelible indie-music fixture, getting comfortable with a new album and learning how to perform it.

It was a huge, unscripted Noise Pop win. Here’s another one.

Providing badge holders with artists’ set times allows festival attendees to plot and navigate more succinctly. This type of alchemy benefits from a killer line-up of artists, which the 31st annual of Noise Pop did indeed have.

2x Gold: Orchestra Gold played a non-Noise Pop event at the Chapel, then opened for great Ethiopian jazz musician Hailu Mergia at Great American Music Hall.

It was great to see Orchestra Gold twice this year. Once with Scientist at a non-Noise Pop event and then the following night opening for Ethiopian jazz keyboardist Hailu Mergia at Great American Music Hall.

Once again, the Bay has a deep, vast, and wide collection of talent that many outside the area code may not know. But this outfit, who keeps on winning fans with their otherworldly vocals and sublime band, who at times feel like a mega blues unit, shall soon have those international festival slots on lock.

But, first things first: Noise Pop needs to cut Ashley Graham a check.

The co-promoter of Fast Times Presents! with musician Andrew St. James has been steadfastly leading the charge for booking bands in alternative venues since mid to late 2020 coming out of COVID.

Tommy Guerrero at 4-Star Cinema

The Tommy Guerrero shows this year at 4-Star Cinema, a beautiful and compelling showcase of how modernity and root genres conjoin seamlessly, is the type of forward-thinking synthesis Graham has been pushing in this city for a couple of years. It incubates bands and scenes while politely reminding residents to visit their local neighborhood cinema before corporations decide to take them away. Y’all can read those tea leaves.

Noise Pop would benefit from being on the good side of history in this realm by publicly acknowledging her efforts. The festival owes her at least that much.

Chiquimamani-Condori opened for Actress at the Chapel. Photo by Amanda Fabrian

I’ll mention this for the third year in a row in hopes that the Noise Pop partners will listen:  Use your power for good.

Anyone can tell you that Haight Street, more specifically Lower Haight, pioneered a generation of bedroom producers in the ’90s. It’s an important part of this city’s dance music history.

It’s been wonderful to see Noise-Pop extend its electronic music nights.

But you need to hold an event at Vinyl Dreams. We commend you for working closely with Amoeba Music at the end of Haight. But the Vinyl Dreams location, which used to be “Tweekin’ in a certain era, changed and inspired a whole decade of DJs and producers who then changed the world.

Lip service is nice, but cash-loaded patrons walking down and into the seminal record store/community focal point during a killer music festival would be far better.

Here’s to next year, and even more Noise Pop.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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