LastNight: Noise Pop 2008
This year's Noise Pop was chock full of neat goodness, and photographer Jeff Enlow was there for most of it. Check out the extensive slideshows of flicks Jeff brought back from Quasi, The Dodos, Cursive, and Port O'Brien. Then click "More" for some thoughts and notes from each night. -- Oscar Pascual
Noise pop Notes by Jeff Enlow
Quasi at Rickshaw Stop, Wed. Feb. 27
Quasi at the Rickshaw Stop was the first of many shows at the 16th annual Noise Pop music fest. One time natives Quasi headlined a diverse, if not strange, line up.
The fist band to go on was local band The Insides. They were like your friends band that used to play your parties in high school -- they weren’t any good but they were your friends, so you had to let them play. They played too loud, everything got muddled together, and they were visibly unprepared. The drummer messed up and had to start over from the beginning, and at point even said, “Wait, I have no idea what we are playing.”
The second band, People People, were also local. This was only their fifth show that they have played together, but you wouldn’t know it. This mostly instrumental band sounded tight and well practiced. They were noisy and technical but still clean and audible.
Just before Quasi was L.A. pop band The Little Ones. They were your basic L.A. pop band, simple but catchy.
The Dodos at Cafe Du Nord, Thur. Feb. 28
This was the night of cute girls at Café Du Nord. All the bands that opened up for the Dodos had cute female singers, and the Dodos aren't bad themselves.
Locals Willow Willow started off the night with a really short set. They played simple dual vocal harmonies about getting love notes.
After that was LA dance pop band Bodies of Water. They were fun and sing-alongy. The crowd was really into them, and two guys from France even sang along.
Just before the Dodos were locals Or the Whale. They played country rock Americana that got a few in the crowd swaying like they were playing out in Golden Gate Park.
Finally, the Dodos (and their mass of instruments) came on the stage. The Dodos have been getting a lot of attention these days and rightfully so. For two guys they sure do skillfully make a big wall of sound filled with a lot of subtitles and nuances.
Cursive at Great American Music Hall, Fri. Feb. 29
One of the upsides of living in San Francisco is access to lots of great music. The downside is that life in San Francisco doesn’t offer you access to easy parking. I drove around forever looking for a spot to park, thus missing the first band The Blacks.
So for me the first opener was Judgment Day. These were three young guys that played metal on a violin and cello. The two front men (or boys) looked like the kind of kids who were forced by their parents to play the cello instead of the guitar. Technically speaking, they were very good at what they did, but to the untrained ear (to which I have), their songs sounded all the same. The crowd was really into them though, even screaming for more after their set was done.
Darker My Love came on next with their mix of straight-ahead shredding and psyched-out fuzziness. They played a very cohesive, well-played set that did little to entertain the crowd. I think after the novelty of the last act, Darker My Love actually didn’t do as well.
Cursive, of course, came on to lots of pushing and excitement. What struck me the most about these guys was how friendly they looked. Bearded front man Tim Kasher looked more like Jeff Tweedy’s brother than the guy who wrote often very dark lyrics on their CD, The Ugly Organ. The biggest disappointment though was no cello. They did have a sax, but the cello parts on The Ugly Organ worked so well I was really hoping to see them live.
Port O'Brien at Cafe Du Nord, Sat. March 1
I'm gonna cut straight to the chase. First band- sucked, second band- ok, third band- good, Port O’ Brien- friggen' awesome.
While the other headliner of the night, Delta Spirit really impressed me, Port O’ Brien for sure has been the best band I’ve seen of the festival yet.
What I liked the most was how original and fresh everything sounded. They did everything more electric and rock than how you hear it on the albums. I always hate when a band plays everything just like their album -- why pay money to see what you downloaded for free? Port O’ Brien also played new songs, and had a variety of guests come up to fill out their sound even more.
On the last song, their biggest hit, "I Woke Up Today," they got the crowd involved by handing out pots and pans for everyone to bang on. It made for a fun time and a really awesome sound. Everyone banged in pretty much unison and rhythm to the song, so it really added to sound.