Just as Thursday night had done, Friday night brought more Noise Pop Festival tastiness in San Francisco. The newly-renamed and reopened venue The Independent (ex-Kennel Club/Justice League) was playing host to a foursome of rock goodness: The Stills, Stratford 4, On The Speakers, and Elephone. While I didnít make it in time to peep the openers (hey, sushi beckoned), the other three bands put on tight sets that yet again drummed home the quality inherent in the current Noise Pop Festival.
Ex-Creeper Lagoon frontman Ian Sefchick and his On The Speakers gang were first up and their shaggy-haired indie rock was received warmly by the friendly hometown audience. Reviving much of the good-time, tuneful rock honed by Creeper, On The Speakersí jangly tunes are best summed up by the catchy ìCould I Be Right,î available to you very soon on Player .049. The quartet left the stage to a loud roar and after the stage was changed over, it was fellow San Franciscans Stratford 4ís turn to wow the crowd.
The Stratfords rocked the house with their Jesus & Mary Chain meets My Bloody Valentine meets The Velvet Underground sound. Unveiling new tracks from their upcoming record, Keep Your Crazy Head On Straight (produced by Rik Ocasek), as well. With low-slung bass grooves, frontman Chris Strengís melancholic vocals and the dueling white noise mayhem of Streng and fellow six-stringer Jake Hosek, Stratford 4 rocked as hard as ever, and the crowd ate it up for the entire 45-minute set.
It got even better for VICEís The Stills. The gang Montreal/NYC cranked it u a gear for Noise Pop. Firing off gem after gem from their debut album, Logic Will Break Your Heart, Tim Fletcher and crew had the sellout crowd in the palms of their hands. From ìLola Stars And Stripesî to ìGender Bombsî to the stellar ìStill In Love Song,î the washy guitars, Smiths, Byrds, and Psychedelic Furs influences and Fletcherís distinctive croon washed the newly-rechristened room in warmth. Noise Pop has become a US festival worth traveling to, and with bills like Fridayís, next yearís event looks to have more out-of-towners than ever.