Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Noise Pop Festival Is Really Something Else

The 19th annual Noise Pop Festival is now in full swing in San Francisco. You would think that I, as the proprietor of a blog and broadcast dedicated to noise pop and noise punk, would be excited. Gosh, I must seem like a Sour Steve this week. 

The thing is, fifteen years ago this festival was a very exciting thing for noise-pop enthusiasts. The fourth Noise Pop in 1996 was a true underground noise event that lasted four days. They had exciting, noisy bands like Creeper Lagoon, Fastbacks, Skyscraper, Supersuckers and a bunch of others I still know nothing about but wish I did.

Unfortunately, the so-called "Noise Pop" event is now just another "indie rock" fest with each group of fluffy hippies striving to be cooler than the next. The list of bands is so long I can't be bothered to count them. It now lasts a whole week and includes film and art viewing in addition to live music. There's even a bleeding "Culture Club". Honestly, it's about as indie puke as it gets. 

There are a few bands I'd be excited to see, especially Young Prisms, but most I couldn't care less about. They do have No Age and Wavves, and even Yo La Tengo. But that does not a noise-pop festival make, not when you have so many other bands that aren't part of that scene at all, like Social Studies, Admiral Radley and Ted Leo, to name but a few. Best Coast and Tamaryn are there, but where are the other Mexican Summer artists? Shouldn't they be at an event labeled "Noise Pop"? Maybe most of them are touring elsewhere. No Joy, for example, are in Europe right now.

I wish they could change the name of this festival, but sadly that's impossible at this point. True noise-pop fans will just have to get what they can where they can get it. But isn't that what we've always done?

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