Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Noise Pop Just Keeps Growing And Growing

In 1993, a man named Kevin Arnold happened to organize a rock show at the Kennel Club, a music joint with a name that would probably ring a bell for very few in the greater Bay Area outside of the San Francisco Peninsula, and this grouping of five local bands was billed as Noise Pop. Fortune happened to shine upon Arnold and the five bands that night, and the Kennel Club was filled past capacity, which led probably led Arnold to think- what if I do this again? Any serious devotee to independent music knows that this idea haunted Arnold, because a stronger edition of Noise Pop appeared the next year.

Noise Pop '94 moved its venue to the larger and more eminent Bottom Of The Hill, featuring 13 bands and the fancy Cyclopsian poster artwork that indie fans and San Franciscans would come to associate with the festival the; as legend would have it, people responded even more positively to this version of Noise Pop than the 1993 outing. But this was still Noise Pop in its infancy- people wouldn't recoginze it today.

It is hard to grasp that the lineup of the 2007 edition of such a festival, announced yesterday (Jan 29th), would include such indie luminaries as Cake, The Donnas, The Dandy Warhols, Autolux, The Coup, and Clinic, among others, and even marquee comics like Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn.

However, for those who have not heard of Noise Pop, it is an event which has served as a proving ground for Modest Mouse, The White Stripes, Death Cab For Cutie, The Flaming Lips, Bright Eyes, and Jimmy Eat World on their way to the success they enjoy today since the 1993 event. And during the time since, the most venerated performers have come to occupy not the stage of Bottom Of The Hill for their set at Noise Pop- rather, they play the prestigious Fillmore; the bottom line is that Noise Pop is the most expansive and prolific modern pop music festival that San Francisco has to offer.

However, it's not just a rock festival anymore- Noise Pop also offers a film and visual art branch this year, with 10 independent films and rock art from all over the globe being shown during festival time, but I digress, as the real attraction is still the amazing and massive line up for the fesitval, with performances starting on the 27th of February and ending March 4th.

The performers include (in alphabetical order, due to the absolute GINORMOSITY of the lineup):
The Actual, Annuals, Aqueduct, Audrye Sessions, Ryan Auffenberg, Autolux, Maria Bamford, Ray Barbee and the Mattson 2,The Bent Mustache, Black Fiction, Karl Blau, The Bird And The Bee, The Botticellis, Boyskout, Brightblack Morning Light, Built for the Sea, Cake, The Changes, Vic Chesnutt, Clinic, Comedians of Comedy, The Coup, The Dandy Warhols, Death of a Party, Alela Diane, Dios Malos, David Dondero, The Donnas, The Dwarves, Elephone, Earlimart, Erase Errata, Roky Erickson and the Explosives (13th Floor Elevators), Ester Drang, The French Kicks, Ghostland Observatory, Laura Gibson, The Gray Kid
Gris Gris, Hella, Jolie Holland, Honeycut, Howlin Rain, Georgie James, Damien Jurado, Langhorne Slim, Lemon Sun, Love of Diagrams, Lyrics Born, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Macromantics, Magic Bullets, Malajube, Willy Mason, Matt & Kim, Midlake, Minipop, Money Mark, The Morning Benders, The Mumlers, Alexi Murdoch, The New Amsterdams, The New Trust, No Age, The Old Fashioned Way, The Oohlas, Oranger, Patton Oswalt, The Ponys, Pony Come Lately, Poor Bailey, Pop Levi, Brian Posehn, Josh Ritter, Zach Rogue, Scissors for Lefty, Scrabbel, Sea Wolf, Sebadoh, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Simon Dawes, Mariee Sioux, Snowden, So Many Dynamos, Spinto Band, St. Vincent, State Radio, Street To Nowhere, The Submarines
Tartufi, Thao, Trainwreck Riders, John Vanderslice, The Watson Twins, The White Barons, Women and Children, Wooden Shjips

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Raging Too Late

As all those who are fans of the Coachella Music And Arts Festival, rock music, or music festivals in general are probably aware, the members of the politically-fueled rap-metal band Rage Against The Machine are reuniting to headline the Coachella Festival bill this year. The band, throughout the previous years of its life, had carved out a niche for itself by making scathing (both in words and sound) attacks on the politicians (chiefly Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, George Bush Sr., and Bill Clinton) that they claimed to have perpetuated and exacerbated the political, economic, and social ills that had affected the U.S. and other countries throughout the 20th century.

Shouldn't it be logical then that they would have been having a field day with a president whose approval rating had reached Nixonian levels during the last six years? I guess not, as the band broke up in 2000, right when stealing an election was the only scandalous thing the Monkey Man had yet perpetrated on the American people. I suppose it is understandable that, after the attacks of September 11 left the country feeling the most patriotic it had felt since Desert Storm, the band would not want to go reunite and spew curses once again at the Flag.

However, as the not-so-reactionary policies of the Bush adminstration to 9/11 sent the nation into a conflict that just got worse and worse as time went on, as the executives of a gigantic energy dealer sucked millions dry, as Washington tried to privatize social security, "as" ad infinitum, the one band that was known for caring about what the suits were doing lay dormant. Now I concede that Rage, during its first run as a band, was filled with constant tension, as guitarist Tom Morello has stated that the band was on the verge of breaking up consistently for the last 5 years of its first run. But, for Jesus sakes'- what other golden opportunity to say, "Fuck the Prez!" without being labeled by the majority of Americans as a bunch of commie bastards are these guys gonna have? The war elicits complaints from everybody from Nancy Pelosi to Pat Buchanan and they're gonna let Green Day have all the anti-establishment glory? For shame.

So, although I am, of course, gonna enjoy hearing the guitar scratching of the "Bulls On Parade" solo ring out across the Indio Valley, I will remain frustrated at the fact that Zach and the gang didn't to get it together as quickly as they did. They still have 2 more years to rag on Bush- if they decide to make this reunion more than a one-off thing, but they nevertheless blew what would have been their best creative period by far by sitting the last 6 years out.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Festival Preview Rock Blog

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