Part of my escapades in covering Noise Pop 20 was trying to challenge how to best produce new and exciting coverage. “Beards of Noise Pop!” “Backstage with the band and whippits!” But in the end, the good ole curiousity won out, and I decided I really wanted to witness bands I had no prior knowledge of. Blindfold me, and I will plunge into the unknown abyss of new music.
I landed on a Thursday Noise Pop night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall, a reborn venue under the main freeway overpass in San Francisco. Its previous incarnations hosted a jazz and hip-hop nightclub, but Brick and Mortar has gone the rock route for its third installment. It's a cozy venue, with a stage nestled into the corner and a bar diagonally across the room. I walked in as London's Chapter 24 took stage and was greeted by a tangle of red hair and a throaty voice ripping through the room. Lead vocalist Claire Smith bounced around on stage in tights and a animal print outfit, throwing in a little punk to the noise outfit's harmonious hooks. Oakland's Bare Wires carried the torch of pop after them, carrying more of a garage feel to their tunes. Hometown pride was evident during their set as many cheered their appreciation.
But it was time to get my electro on, so I bounced to Rickshaw Stop for Los Angeles' Big Black Delta. Jonathan Bates, former front dude of short-lived outfit Mellowdrone, now fronts the trio, which includes two lady drummers flanking him on either side keeping some mad rhythm. And while the light show carried some heavy moments of intensity, it's refreshing to know Bates has harbored through and almost reincarnated himself through BBD. The synths, the percussion, and Bates' warm wail of a voice all matched perfectly in sync, topping off a night well done.
Notable mentions of the evening also go to Incan Abraham and the Frail at Bender's along with Sister Crayon playing with Built to Spill at the Fillmore.