Sunday 3/28 - WOW Hall, Eugene OR
Monday 3/29 - Holocene, Portland OR #
Tuesday 3/30 - Chop Suey, Seattle WA
Friday 4/2 - Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis MN ^
Saturday 4/3 - Empty Bottle, Chicago IL
For my third night of the 2010 Noise Pop Festival I made the difficult decision to head over to the Great American Music Hall to see buzz-band Atlas Sound with supporting acts Geographer, Magic Wands and Nice Nice. Unfortunately for all of you, I was only able to snap a couple of photos of the first band before security pulled me to the side and warned me that photography was not allowed under any circumstances.
The first band of the evening was Nice Nice who come to Noise Pop by way of Portland, Oregon. If you’ve kept an open ear to the music that’s been coming out of the “indie” scene as of late than you are probably familiar with the blips and beeps that are all the rage. Well if that is something that you are into than Nice Nice is the right band for you. Their set was filled with rock-dance vibes that isn’t always easy on the ears, but always perfect for a good time. You can’t find this duo on iTunes yet, so look out for their 7” called One Hit.
Following Nice Nice was Bay Area natives Magic Wands, who were completely off my musical radar until Noise Pop. Luckily for me, the first time I heard anything about them involved me seeing them live as well. They are your typical Rayban wearing indie rock hipsters, but there was something special about this band. I’ve never been shy about my distaste for MGMT, and though Magic Wands draw many comparisons to the over-hyped band, I find them to be more enjoyable than them. Their EP Magic Love and Dreams was released in May of last year, so if you seek it out I would highly recommend the song Black Magic as a perfect way to get your spring started off right.
The next act was Geographer, who like Magic Wands, are native to the San Francisco area, and also like Magic Wands, I had never heard of them before. The band is typically a trio, but they are known to have a special musical guest on occasion. While at their show, I found that their music had a lot of 1980’s video game influence and the lead singer reminded me of Morrissey. They are a great representation for how much incredible music is coming out of the San Francisco area, and the band is currently in the process of finishing up their new EP, so definitely keep an eye out for that when it comes out.
Last but certainly not least was Atlas Sound, and by the time they hit the stage the Great American Music Hall had been completely filled up. 2009 was a huge year for Atlas Sound, and after reading so much about them and getting bits a pieces of their catalog from the internet, I was very intrigued to see what their live show would be like. To be honest, I was disappointed but I wasn’t blown away at the same time. It’s very difficult to bring the lo-fi dance-rock sound to life, but he did give it his best shot. I am still a fan of the band, but can’t say that I will be seeking them out on their next stop in Los Angeles or at the festival circuit this year.
The night began with Two Sheds who are a wonderful husband and wife duo from Sacramento who have partnered up with Rusty Miller and James Finch Jr. to form a band that is best described as Bluesy Americana.
After Two Sheds it was time for the Bay Area’s very own Man/Miracle that is made up of four members that play music that is best described as rock with a pop sensibility. The bands first full-length album The Shape Of Things brought the band some big buzz and comparisons to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Rogue Wave. If you decide to seek out some of their music, which I think you should, I highly recommend the tracks “Dayglo” and “Back of the Card.”
Following Man/Miracle was Los Angeles Natives Princeton, and this indie pop group have made a name for themselves for having a very tight live show, which I agree with. Their show at Bottom of the Hill was well rehearsed and had zero lag time in between songs. Definitely a great band to keep an eye out for and after having a conversation with the boys from LA, I even snagged a free copy of their album Cocoon of Love on vinyl and I can’t wait to give it a spin.
Now, I don’t mean any offense to the three bands that played before Rogue Wave, but the night truly belonged to the band from San Francisco. Rogue Wave is one of my favorite bands and their second album Descended by Vultures, which was released in 2005, still stands as one of my favorites of this decade. So when Zach and the boys took to the stage, I was praying to hear songs from that album. I was not disappointed in the least. Though most of the songs in their set came from their latest album Permalight, they still made time to play such songs as “Publish My Love” and “Bird on a Wire.” Also, for those that were able to get inside the packed venue, we were treated to something very special when John Vanderslice came on stage to close the show with Rogue Wave.
My first night of Noise Pop was an absolute dream come true. There are not many times when I am able to see one of my favorite bands play live in a venue that holds only 300 people and have them play some of my favorite songs of the last decade.
The Heart is a Drum Machine
Director: Christopher Pomerenke
What is music? That is the simple question that the new documentary The Heart is a Drum Machine so eloquently tries to answer with the help of some of the most renowned musicians, producers, actors, journalists and singers in the industry.
It all begins with a NASA space engineer, who was given the daunting task of selecting music to be transmitting into space for the universe to hear. The focus of her segment is on how she believes that other forms of life in the universe must have their own form of music in their world and that this was the chance to connect all of us.
From there, the film explores what music is by asking people such as Wayne Cohen (The Flaming Lips), Kurt Loder (MTV News), George Clinton, Britt Daniel (Spoon), Becky Stark (Lavendar Diamond), Juliette Lewis, Faruza Balk, Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit), Jason Schwartzman and many others who all give personal accounts on what music is to them, how music affects them, and why they feel that at the root of music is the simple beating of our hearts.
Though slow at some points, I couldn’t help but be completely fascinated by the stories of all of these incredible people. It truly made me look within myself and not only ask myself what is music? But, more importantly, what is music to me?
If at any point you are able to watch this film I do recommend for anyone who has been affected by music, isn’t that everyone?
Check out the trailer for The Heart is a Drum Machine below.