Noise Pop

It was a foggy Friday night in San Francisco’s inner-Sunset neighborhood as my cohort and I began our voyage to The Independent. After some trouble at the door, we made it just in time to catch the beginning of Sinkane’s second song of their set. They did not disappoint, playing their fantastic second album, Mars, in its entirety. They kept bodies writhing and swaying for the better part of an hour, sending ripples of electronic afro-funk over the swarming sea of humans that packed the sold-out show. They closed their set out with a pumped-up rendition of their single “Runnin’,” sending the crowd into a frenzy.

It wasn’t more than 15 minutes until the lights were cut and Toro y Moi took the stage, whereupon they immediately broke into “So Many Details,” the lead single of their January-released LP, Anything In Return. Hips were thrust, sweat was poured, and by the end of the show eggs were no doubt fertilized. Their setlist was fairly predictable, consisting mostly of songs off the new album, but they mixed it up by adding standouts from 2011’s Underneath The Pine such as “Still Sound” and “New Beat.” TyM kept it lively throughout and exceeded the precedent that they set  at the 2011 Outside Lands Music Festival. The only disappointment came when the band didn’t return for an encore. But fuck encores anyway, right?

Early Saturday afternoon, a Synthesis photographer, editor, and myself ventured to the Swedish American Music Hall for Noise Pop Culture Club – an interactive workshop exploring DIY culture presented by local weekly, The Bay Bridged. Our primary objective was to see Falling Into The Sun: Meditations At Dawn, a collection of three heliocentric films, each live-scored by a different member of the band, YACHT.

The band’s frontwoman, Claire L. Evans, whom we spoke with briefly after the event, monitored the proceedings beginning with simple breathing exercises and some call-and-response mantra repeating to fully prepare the 60 or so attendees for what they were about to experience.

We left the Swedish American Music Hall imbued with effervescence – having conversed with a living, breathing goddess – to meet up with our fellow travelers in Dolores Park. We people-watched for a couple of hours, procured various chocolate-based marijuana edibles, and even met the aforementioned YACHT-goddess’ high school prom date.

Then, it was time for the main event: YACHT at Slim’s. There were three openers, and due to the entrance difficulty at The Independent, we weren’t taking any chances. The openers were Shock, Future Twin, and Tussle. The only one of note, Shock, brought their entracing brand of windchime-tinged, sleek electro-funk to the stage and instantly got the 80 people in the audience moving. Unfortunately, their set was the shortest of the night. Check out their song “Heaven” on YouTube. It won’t disappoint.

After steadily drinking through the next two openers, YACHT usurped the stage never to relinquish control for the rest of the night. For 90 minutes, the sold-out crowd at Slim’s were caught in a tractor beam and time ceased to exist. YACHT started the set off with “Paradise Engineering” – an upbeat track with frontwoman Evans explaing the YACHT mission statement: “we as humans can become so blissful that we will no longer actually exist, and we will be able to gaze upon the entire universe.” The talismanic enigma that is Claire L. Evans capitvated and coaxed the crowd into a euphoric, transcendent state of blissful everythingness. By the end, we were wishing that we could harness the cosmic, crystal energy carrot that was dangled in front of our noses. Then the encore came.

Evans acquiesced the mic to her life-collaborator, Jona Bechtolt, and YACHT proceeded to break into a downtempo, beefed-up version of “Ring The Bell” with the bass turned up so high, the foundations shook and arrhythmia was setting in. Next came the Chromeo-esque “Second Summer” – an autobiographical song mapping Claire and Jona’s collaboration. The closer was the revved-up, self-impowering “Utopia,” which leaves us with the lines, “A higher source is calling and you don’t have to commit, you don’t have to submit. The future works upon us as we all work upon it.”

All in all, Noise Pop 2013 was a wonderful, transformative experience. If given the opportunity, everyone reading this should pull the trigger and go next year.

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Bred and buttered in Chico, David Neuschatz has been devouring music since toddlerdom. His earliest memories are dancing around his living room to Annie Lennox's Diva and Yes' 90125. In lieu of cartoons, he soaked in top 20 countdowns from VH1 and MTV on weekend mornings. His goal is to spread as much good music as he can to the masses. For this reason, he cites ethnomusicologist, folklorist, and archivist, Alan Lomax, as his idol.