Sunday, March 04, 2007

Noise Pop Day #6 - Afternoon

Show: Midlake in Noise Pop
Headliner: Midlake
Openers: Minipop, Ester Drang, Minmae
Location: Bottom Of The Hill in San Francisco, CA
Date: Sunday, March 4, 2007
2007 Show #: 5

I was starting to burn out from Noise Pop, so this was my last show. The afternoon show at Bottom of the Hill. I've gone to 2 afternoon noise pop shows at bottom of the hill before, and have been happy with both. And I was mostly happy with this one too...

The show started with a 35 minute set from Minmae. Minmae hails from Portland. They are a 4 piece, playing some rocking tunes. It was good, enjoyable stuff. I was considering buying their CD, but decided to save my money for other pursuits. I will look up more of their stuff.

Ester Drang came up next, also playing about a 35 minute set. They're a 3 piece, playing in front of a video projector with videos from a laptop (I couldn't see the laptop to verify). The videos were arty, and the music was atmospheric to go along with it. It was enjoyable, but unspectacular. I wouldn't shy from seeing them again, but I wouldn't seek it out either.

Minipop came on half an hour later. They were a 5 member group, with an additional little kid with a guitar standing on stage. The kid couldn't have been more than 10 (and probably younger than that). He introduced the band. They play an enjoyable female vocal indie pop.

Unfortunately, about half way through the set, the club got super full. The heat of all the people, combined with the heat of the warm day, made it much to warm in there. I started to feel sick. Since the club had no ins and outs, and I couldn't find anywhere to just stand and catch my breath, I just took off. It was good music, but I got in for free and it wasn't worth getting sick over to me. Bummer. Good show though.

Noise Pop Night #5

Show: Ghostland Observatory in Noise Pop
Headliner: Ghostland Observatory
Openers: Honeycut, The Gray Kid, Land Shark
Location: Mezzanine in San Francisco, CA
Date: Saturday, March 3, 2007
2007 Show #: 4

Not a happy experience. I came to the show wanting to see Honeycut and Ghostland Observatory, not knowing the other two bands. In the end I only saw 1. Why? Well, most places list the show start time and the door time. Mezzanine in contrast, only lists 1 time. Since Mezzanine is so close to the BART, and every other Noise Pop show has ended shortly after midnight, I took the BART in. The last BART train out was at 12:20. As a result, I completely missed Ghostland Observatory. I'm beginning to really dislike Mezzanine as a venue. Booo!

Anyway, on to the show I did see. The show started (at 9:45 pm!) with Land Shark. Land Shark is a 4 person group playing a mix of atmosphere, new wave, and electronic that simply mixes to crap. Couldn't get into this, and I couldn't wait for the set to end. I liked the name, but that's where it ended.

Next up was The Gray Kid. The singularness of the name isn't a mistake. It really is just one guy. Dancing around between several microphones and singing/rapping to music from a laptop. This reminded me very much of Har Mar Superstar from the other day. Like Har Mar, it just didn't work. Unlike Har Mar, he didn't even have an interesting gimmick. Oh well.

Honeycut came on at 11:30 pm and played a 40 minute set. They played a solid set, and had some good showmanship. They started with a instrumental track, played a solid set from their 1 album. They worked in a cover of 'Strawberry Letter 23,' played their top single 'Shadows' second to last, and then ended with a jammy type song. Good stuff, if unspectacular. I then had to leave, disappointed, and not a fan of Mezzanine.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Noise Pop Night #4

Show: Ted Leo in Noise Pop
Headliner: Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
Openers: Georgie James, So Many Dynamos, Pony Come Lately
Location: Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA
Date: Friday, March 2, 2007
2007 Show #: 3

This is my second draft of this, having lost the first draft to a firefox crash. This is the Noise Pop show I was most (only?) looking forward to. It was a pretty uninspiring line up this year. Fortunately, it delivered.

I got to Great American late, so unfortunately missed most of Pony Come Lately's set. The guide says they're a San Francisco "super group," for what it's worth. I enjoyed what I heard though, and I'm looking to learn more about these guys.

Next up was So Many Dynamos. This was the only real down point of the show, and it wasn't that down. It just didn't do anything for me. And for no obvious reason. Plenty of energy, but just didn't get any response. A head scratcher, but I won't be looking for any more from them.

Next up was Georgie James, formed by of the former members of Q and Not U. And it was like having an average rock band infused with the post-ness of Q and Not U. It made for enjoyable music, and an enjoyable set. I will definitely be looking for more from this band, and I anxiously look forward for the chance to hear their album when it comes out.

Finally was Ted Leo. This was the only band I knew anything about before coming to the show, but I was very excited. Ted Leo came on at 10:50 pm, and point a fantastic 70 minute main set. He mixed new (a new CD coming out next week) and old stuff. I mostly dug the old stuff, not being as excited about the new CD coming out. But I did enjoy it, even if the new stuff played a lot more dead then the old stuff. The highlight of noise pop so far. The encore was 4 songs. The first song was just Ted Leo playing solo, and the last song was a cover of a Chumbawumba song I didn't recognize (thankfully not Tumbthumping). An excellent set, from a band known to be a top performer.

Good times.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Noise Pop Night #2

Show: John Vanderslice in Noise Pop
Headliner: John Vanderslice
Openers: Damien Juardo, The Submarines, Black Fiction
Location: The Independent in San Francisco, CA
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2007
2007 Show #: 2

The second night of Noise Pop, despite the club's insistence on calling it the first night. The only thing I really need to comment on before getting into the review was the between set music. Between the first and second band, it was all off an old Decemberists album. Using only one artist, okay, but the Decemberisits? Anyway, what makes it worse is that between the second and third band they played the same songs. Not even different songs on the same album! They fixed it after that, at least.

Up first was Black Fiction. They're a San Francisco outfit. I got in just moments after they began their first song. An enjoyable, if unspectacular set. My biggest problem as that most of their songs just sort of droned. They ended the set with a few songs with some more liveliness. They have some potential.

Up next was The Submarines. I knew of one of their songs ("Peace and Hate") from a podcast, or a blog, or some such. They're a duo relying on a laptop to fill out their sound. They put on an enjoyable set, but again unspectacular. I enjoyed their rendition of the song I knew, but nothing particularly crazy.

Third on was Damien Jurado. I know people are big into this guy, but I've never really got much into it. Just a little to .... morose. Damien is a self-described as "not much to look at," which is fair enough. He said they normally have three people up there, but that their lady didn't do the trip with them, so it was just Damien and 1 guy backing him up. They played a bunch of good songs, but once again just none of it was exciting. Very quality, and very skilled, but eh.

Finally was John Vanderslice. I knew a good bit of his stuff, so he was my draw. Unfortunately, this was once again an unexciting set. I enjoyed everything I heard, but I was just bored the entire show. As a result, and because of a need to wake early the next day, I skipped out early. Everything Vanderslice and his band played, I enjoyed. Just nothing ever happened to make me pleased to be at the concert.

I'd be willing to see each of these bands again, but I wouldn't go for them as the headliners. Enjoyable, but just blah....