This is a really big year for Noise Pop, one of the most long-standing and widely-genred music festivals in the Bay Area. For the first time ever, the festival is running 10 days — double its usual duration. They’ve expanded the film portion of the event, featuring 22 films in addition to the usual assortment of bands covering the entire gamut of “noise pop,” including hardcore punk, bubblegum pop, hip-hop, jazz, garage, twee — everything, basically! Of course, with such a huge variety of entertainment taking over the town for nearly two weeks, you’ll need some help deciding on what to go to. That’s what we’re here for — letting you know our picks for the best things to see and hear at this year’s Noise Pop Festival!
Thursday, February 18th
An Evening With Penelope Spheeris at Alamo Drafthouse
Kicking things off at the newly-reopened Alamo Drafthouse, Noise Pop is paying tribute to one of rock’s most important filmmakers, Penelope Spheeris. We are getting treated to two wonderful and dark films about the youth of the early punk movement: the fictional film Suburbia and the rarely scene documentary on gutter punks Decline Of Western Civilization III.
Friday, February 19th
Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai at the Roxie Theater
Everyone has seen the trailer. Now you can see the film. For those that don’t use the internet, this is a Nigerian remake of the classic Purple Rain. This is the first-ever screening of this film in California. It will rule.
Saturday, Feburary 20th
Korla: Godfather Of Exotica Music at Alamo Drafthouse
This is the best movie I saw in 2015. It’s the story of a true innovator of broadcast television, the organ player Korla Pandit. It might be hard to believe, but this movie is riveting from beginning to end, and takes some turns that you’d never expect.
Morphine: Journey Of Dreams at the Swedish American Hall
There was never any band like Morphine, and I doubt there ever will be again. Their sparse sound that derived from a two-string bass, drums, and baritone sax was a unique and beautiful thing that somehow made its way onto alternative rock radio in the 90’s. Sadly, lead singer Mark Sandman passed away on stage in 1999, leaving only documents like this film behind to experience the joy of this band. After the film, the band Vapors Of Morphine will play, featuring Morphine’s drummer, Jerome Deupree, and their sax player, Dana Colley.
Monday, February 22nd
David Bowie Tribute Party at The Independent
Opening the show is the classic film Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars. Headlining is Everyone Is Bowie, featuring members of Everyone Is Dirty doing an all Bowie set. Why? Because David Bowie was amazing.
Tuesday, February 23rd
Metric, Joywave at The Masonic
It’s been a while since Metric have been part of the national radar — which is terribly unfortunate, because each record keeps getting better. Metric are definitely the smartest of the last generation of synth pop bands, and last year’s Pagans In Vegas hit #10 on Spinning Platters’ favorite records of 2015.
Wednesday, February 24th
La Sera, Surf Curse, Burning Curtains, Rudy De Anda at Rickshaw Stop
I was saddened deeply when Vivian Girls decided to call it quits, but then surprised to find that the best project to emerge from the ashes of this band is La Sera. Each record gets better, and her latest record, Music For Listening To Music To, was recorded live in the studio by none other than 2015’s comeback king, Ryan Adams — making it her most ferocious and dynamic record yet!
Thursday, February 25th
Kamasi Washington In Conversation With David Katznelson at Swedish American Hall
Looking for a good reason to call in sick to work? How about an afternoon listening to one of the most important players in modern jazz — as well as the man that made Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly
the sonic masterpiece that it was — discuss his craft in one of most beautiful and acoustically sound rooms in San Francisco.
The Thermals, So Pitted, Cruel Summer, Partybaby at Brick & Mortar Music Hall
As we’ve mentioned before, the Thermals represent everything great about rock n’ roll. They are just doing thick and dirty groove rock that makes you wanna move. It’s a simple and sweaty good time that you should enjoy as often as you can.
Friday, February 26th
Litquake: I Thought It Sucked: One Star Reviews Of Music Masterpieces at the Swedish American Hall
Noise Pop kind of snuck this one in there, and it’s their first foray into comedy. It’s a happy hour performance of various different Bay Area musicians and writers reading one star reviews of critically acclaimed albums. It’s free, so you have very little risk. That being said, I have a hard time believing this won’t be fun.
The Cave Singers, Current Swell, Foxtails Brigade, Jacob Golden at The Chapel
The Cave Singers are a beautiful, dark side project of 90’s punk legends Murder City Devils. Foxtails Brigade is a side project of Bay Area metal legends Judgement Day. This show is basically an exercise in how something can be both heavy and delicate.
Saturday, February 27th
Song Exploder Live Podcast Recording: Carly Rae Jepsen at Swedish American Hall
Carly Rae Jepsen, Cardiknox, Monika at The Warfield
“Call Me Maybe” is the pinnacle of great pop songwriting. Her second record, E*MO*TION, pushes the edges of pop music, bringing in such indie rock icons as Blood Orange and Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij as collaborators. We are lucky, because in one day we are getting to experience a stripped-down analysis of this great artist, as well as her full stage show!
Noise Pop 2016 runs from February 19th – 28th. For the full lineup and music schedule, check out their official site!