February 27, 2002

Noise Pop 10

I've been attending assorted Noise Pop events for the last six or seven years, and this year I finally forked over cash (yes, cash; I paid for it outta my own pocket) for a Noise Pop 10 badge that will guarantee me entry to each and every event. I'll do my best to chronicle my adventures over the next six days here in the pages of musicrag. Here goes nothin'.

Noise Pop Tour Diary, Day 1

That should probably be Night 1, but that just didn't sound as good. Noise Pop SF 2002 kicked off with more of a whimper than a bang last night, and more pop than noise. The one and only event for the evening featured Death Cab for Cutie, Dismemberment Plan, The Velvet Teen, and Aveo at Bimbo's 365 (you know, where that Chris Isaak guy hangs out). There were myriad violations of the Rules of Rock, which I will chronicle below, and assess penalties for. Please remit all payments to Ian Miller, in care of this station.

After collecting our complimentary Noise Pop 10 T's (if you saw the shirts you'd know why they were free), we made our way into the club just in time to see Aveo hit the stage. Sounding by turns like he was channeling Morrissey and Thom Yorke, singer/guitarist William Wilson led the band through a short but powerful six-song set.

Rules of Rock Violations included: Wilson's annoying habit of lifting and lowering his leg out of time to the music, much like a rhythmless crane, $15; bassist Mike Hudson sporting a hooded sweatshirt and tousled Eddie Vedder hair. You're going to work, dude. At least pretend to care. $35.

Next up were Santa Rosa's own The Velvet Teen. When singer/guitarist Judah busted out with his amazing falsetto vocals, it occurred to me that they should just change the name of the whole damn thing to the Radiohead Festival. Loud/quiet dynamics, odd time signatures, quirky-poppy chord progressions — it's OK to steal from Radiohead, just don't do it all in the same song. That said, they were still damned good. I could've done with more rawk, but hey; they're from Santa Rosa, so cut 'em some slack. It was at this point in the evening that my life partner busted out the quote of the evening. After two consecutive power trios comprised of skinny, frail-looking dudes, she said, "I like my musicians skinny and frail. It makes me feel like they're trying harder." Sheer genius.

Rules of Rock Violations included: Judah sounded uncannily like Dennis DeYoung of Styx when not doing the falsetto thing. $60.

Then Dismemberment Plan were up. Ummm, so who said these guys were good? I know lots of people like D Plan, and I need to know who they are so I can put them on my official Enemies List. Somewhere at the intersection of Dave Matthews, the Barenaked Ladies, and every godawful frathouse band you've ever seen butcher "Brick House" is where Dismemberment Plan lives. Steer clear, I say. Turn back now. Before it's too late.

People, I thought we'd endured enough white boys playing funk rock. I thought this ended in '91 when Primus and those other goofy Bay Area bands went away or became irrelevant. Haven't we suffered enough?!?

Apparently we haven't, 'cuz D Plan played, like, forever, and the weirdest part is that the crowd ate it up. Listen, White Boy, unless you're the Minutemen or Gang of Four, I don't want to hear you "get funky," bro. There's only one D anything Plan in my eyes, and that's the almighty Dillinger Escape Plan. Go back to Rock School, impostor D Plan. Do not pass Go. Certainly do not collect $200..

Numerous Rules of Rock Violations included: Smug, annoying dwarf singer; disco drummer who looked like the Ghost Rider, only instead of flames had long stringy hair instead; bass player who looked like Shaggy from Scooby Doo; synchronized dance steps with invitation to crowd to join in same. $1,500 total fines assessed, and one hour of life back, please.

Death Cab for Cutie rounded out the night, but I was already too pissed off at Dismemberment Plan to enjoy them. They were boring anyway, although their songs and performances were solid. There's a fine line between emo and tedious, and the Death Cab cats strayed to the tedious side. They were also hindered by an almost total lack of charisma and stage presence as well, which I'm sure didn't help. Anyway, we bailed after a half-dozen songs or so.

Rules of Rock Violations included: Being old and tubby and boring. This is a correctable violation, also known as a "fix-it ticket." So at your next show, move around or something. Have a salad, or go for a run or something. There is no room for fat guys in rock. Literally or figuratively.

So that was Night 1 of Noise Pop 10. Tonight we're off to catch Track Star at Bottom of the Hill, then back to Bimbo's for The Faint. I have high hopes for The Faint, anyway. But if they end up sucking, does anyone wanna buy a couple of slightly used Noise Pop 10 badges cheap?

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