Dispatches from Noise Pop: Friday 2/26

Bolting out the door once again, and heading right out to Benders as the work week ended, I arrived for my third consecutive day of Happy Hour shows (slash fuel up on beer and food music session) this time hosted by our good friends over at the Bay Bridged. Well put together on their part, The Bay Bridged had arranged the Happy Hour show I was most anticipating with a strong line up featuring Hunx and his Punx, Spencey Dude and the Doodles, and Weekend. Sadly, as I would be compelled to leave and skip across town to my next destination, the only band whose set I had enough time to check out was Weekend.

Taking the stage, Weekend started off a bit reserved and trepidatious about their sound as they were unable to use their own amps. Ultimately, that fact was irrelevant and they gained more confidence as their set progressed, but at the beginning they seemed to be holding back. Mustering up some great shrill guitar backed by hard-hitting and up-tempo drumming Weekend filled every empty crevice of the venue with sound. Best as I can say, if My Bloody Valentine went punk rock you’d get Weekend.

Scuttling across town, I headed over to The Independent for my Friday night respite from all things Indie Rock and settled in for an evening of electronic flavor. First up were the duo NewVillager. Mixing both synthesizers and live instruments NewVillager, played for something of a sparse crowd, that had yet to fully flush out to the sold out statues the venue had promised. If you took Prince’s falsetto and epic lyrical style subtracted the guitar shredding and added electronic beats then surely you’d have the recipe for their sound. Continuing with the food analogy, NewVillager were a lovely down-tempo appetizer for the bands to come.

Taking something from the Fiery Furnaces circa Biter Tea (only less experimental, to use that poisoned word) Rainbow Arabia, up from LA, took the stage second to a more densely crowd populated, peppered with several hardcore fans. Much like the band before, Rainbow Arabia implored a mix of live instruments and synths to create their fairly unique sound. Tiffany Preston could easily be compared to Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces, who in turn has been compared to Pattie Smith in her presence as a front woman. Prancing around the stage, sometimes with a hyper sense of sexual tension, Preston’s performance was a joy to watch.

The first of the two British electronic musicians to take the stage, Nathan Fake prepped the crowd’s electronic pallet for the evening. Pairing glitchy electronic sounds with dance beats, Nathan Fake set down the path of electronic music that interests me. I can get bored with the merciless mundane thudding that many electronic musicians are want to do, but this wasn’t the case with Nathan Fake. His arrangements were intricate and complex and I must admit I caught myself sheepishly dancing along to them at several times. Of course I’d be remiss not to point out that if this electronic road is one you like to journey down on a regular basis do check out these local artists at your next convenient opportunity: The Luxury Tax and Business 80.

Nestled up in the Independent’s balcony area, far from the fully fleshed out crowd and amidst clouds of something very skunky smelling that had gathered in the rafters from said crowd, I found myself a nice perch to listen to Four Tet. I’ve always found his brand of electronic music to be much more cerebral than dancy so I spaced out (perhaps with a contact high) and explored the music as he spent the next hour or so arranging and composing his intricate soundscape. With the faintest of touches he delicately placed his fastidiously mixed sounds together for a beautifully sounding, near seamless set. It was quite the show to be a part of.

Past the halfway point now through this year’s Noise Pop, I wait with baited breath for the last of the Bender’s Happy Hour shows tonight followed by personal favorites Maus Haus and !!! at the Mezzanine.


-Words and Photos by Ada Lann