February 28, 2002

Noise Pop Tour Diary, Day 2

Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

Day (Night) 2 of Noise Pop was everything that Day 1 wasn't: noisy, rocky, exciting, entertaining, and dramatic. We began the evening began at Bottom of the Hill to check out Track Star. After a half-hour-long delay during which time walk-up customers were able to purchase tickets and go inside and badgeholders had to wait out front (membership does not have its privileges, apparently), we were finally granted egress to the club.

The wait was well worth it, though. Kicking off the show were kaitO, a phenomenal indie-pop band from Norwich, England, of all places. If Justine from Elastica sang for White Stripes, or if Sonic Youth were still relevant, or if Huggy Bear were more substance than style, they might approach the beauty that is kaitO.

Unhampered by the pretense that plagues so many of their stateside indie-rock counterparts (or at least hiding it really, really well), kaitO's quirky we-just-found-these-guitars-so-why-don't-we-hit-them-with-these-toys proto-pop approach was a joy to behold. Fresh and fun and unassuming and unpresumptuous; all things that Track Star, sadly, were not.

Remember when Track Star were going to be the Next Big Thing? Yeah, not so much anymore. Wearing their Velvets/Belle and Sebastian/power pop influences on their sleeves, Track Star sleepwalked through a set of homogenous pop-rock. About halfway through their set, my life partner turned to me and asked, "Why do they call this 'noise pop'? They should call it 'pussy rock' instead." It's funny because it's true.

Luckily our next stop was Bimbo's 365 to check out The Faint, who would restore our faith in rock 'n' roll in short order.

I've never been a huge fan of their music (or hadn't been before last night, anyway), but The Faint brought all the action and drama and spectacle that Noise Pop had so sorely been lacking. Sixty or so minutes of bludgeoning kitschy-retro '80s sequencer-powered goth raunch. Gene Loves Jezebel Loves Trent Reznor Loves Pete Burns Loves Andrew Eldritch. We loved them all.

And when we got bored of looking at the furious black-clad spectacle on stage (which was seldom), we could direct our attention to the Molly Ringwald-dancing throng around us. Very hot. Very hot.

The Faint will be back at Bimbo's on March 26th. Be there so you can say you were goth before goth was cool. Again, I mean.

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