Saturday found me in the middle of booty beats, vodka Red Bulls, and tears on the streets of North Beach…this festival is starting to get to me…
Still in recovery from Friday’s night of illegal activity, I slept in Saturday, unfortunately missing the chance to rub elbows with industry folk and get my learn on at the Noise Pop Expo, where workshops ranging from how to break into the industry with your blog to success stories of local kids (Scissors For Lefty, The Lovemakers). I tried so hard to peel my ass out of bed, but alas, the only thing that could motivate me was sushi with my BFF Alli, who just moved back to San Francisco from NYC. We stuffed ourselves full before heading out to the Diesel happy hour again; this time I wanted to be coherent, so I swore off double fisting drinks.
Two minutes after we arrived, the plan was shot, and I held two vodka Red Bulls in hand and sat down to sip and observe. The crowd was much thinner this night, but the alcohol was somehow stronger. It took me some willpower to pull myself up from my comfy plush bench to watch the morning benders play their set. The Berkeley outfit had both Alli and myself bobbing our heads and wishing we could actually see above all the giant hipster hair in front of us. Their sweet twiddly indiepop sound is paired with a soft yet sturdy voice on account of singer Chris Chu, and I’m just a sucker for local music in general. San Francisco is my city, my heart, my boyfriend; anything related around, across the bay, or associated already has my attention. Call it biased or retarded, but it’s true. The boys have such an air of “Hey, let’s chill and drink beer” I can’t help it.
After the benders did their thing, we continued to let the booze flow and took advantage of the bar until after we came back from a cigarette to discover the bar closed and staff beginning to clean up; it was 8:30! What the hell was this noise? Some general schmoozing and hugs happened before I met my friend Becca at Bimbo’s for Monotonix. We’d received a report from our friend Jerry the previous night about the Israeli band setting their drummer’s kit on fire and raising him into the air while he still played, so we were pumped to see what the hard rock group could deliver. Unfortunately for us, we got there just two minutes after the band finished, so we decided to shake our depression by checking out Oakland’s Wallpaper opening for classic indie kids Panther. I’d found some stuff off their MySpace that afternoon pre-sushi, and I heard enough to merit me being way interested in their set.
Becca couldn’t find her car around Bimbo’s after we emerged defeated from Monotonix; having taken the bus to meet her up at the North Beach venue, I felt helpless trying to assist her and suggested taking a cab down to Rickshaw for the Wallpaper show before coming back up to try and find her car. We were also still inebriated.
“Dude, it’ll totally work out,” I slurred as we flagged down a cab on Columbus. “We’ll go see the show, come back into North Beach, and then go down to MSTRKRFT,” which was the crÃ¨me de le crÃ¨me of the Saturday night shows; Port O’Brien, the Mountain Goats, The Virgins, and Mark Lanegan’s new band Gutter Twins were all playing this night, but yet everyone we talked to talked about ending up at Mighty for the former Death From Above 1979 outfit, of which from the ashes arose one of the best electronic guys around. Becca agreed and we barreled down Van Ness in one of the fastest cabs we’ve ever been in.
We dashed into the Rickshaw right as Wallpaper took stage, and I can honestly say it was one of things where you go Fuck dude, where have you been all my life? I have to tell you a disclaimer about me before I launch into the part of this story: before I started writing for the Tripwire and getting into the music I write about now, I used to be really into teeny pop music; I saw the Backstreet Boys three times between the ages of 12 and 17 (judge all you want, I don’t care; it was a glorious time). Prior to this, however, I was heavily into R&B, rap, and hip-hop, primarily between the years of 1994 and 1998. This is when I used to make mix tapes of songs I heard off the radio and save up precious dollars to buy the latest Boyz II Men single. I’m not kidding. New Edition, Tupac, Keith Sweat, SWV, 112, Bell Biv Devoe, Ginuwine – you’re shuddering in horror right now, aren’t you?
So imagine my great delight that the former front man from local SF rock band, Facing New York, Eric Frederic is now on stage in a patterned hoodie, stunna shades, some gold chains, and fly sneakers singing R&B booty jams with an electronic twist? You know I pushed my way up to the front to dance.
Let’s take newest single, “T-Rex,” by these guys. It’s E-40′s “Tell Me When To Go” backing synth coupled with an R&B slant; I feel like it’s Fischerspooner meets Blackstreet circa 1997 if they were both in existence at the same time. It’s also about the same six lines and fairly simple beat patterns, but I don’t care – this shit is catchy, and I am so falling in love. It’s a curious match for an indie music festival hosting an act like Wallpaper, but it’s a great addition. I don’t care he sings stuff like “I have a million dollars/Give me a million dollars” or that most of the vocals are done with a distortion mic. I don’t even care that Frederic is drinking a glass of red wine on stage like he’s at some Harvard brotherhood meeting albeit looking like he’s dressed for a Three 6 Mafia CD cover. The duo, with drummer Arjun Singh rounding out the rhythm, knows a hook, knows a beat, and knows intimately what works, and I have not seen that in a long time. I’m gushing, maybe, but out of all the shows I’ve been to this week for Noise Pop, this is the one I feel most comfortable and most inspired at.
We meet Becca’s friend Taylor front and center and proceed to go insane to Frederic’s killer cover of Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” Taylor at one point grabbing my face and running his fingers through my hair maniacally as I scream “Can’t get her out of my mind/Miss her kiss her love her/That girl is POIIIIIISONNNNNNN!” Epic, truly. The set ends the slow jam/body grooves with “Every Time We Do It,” incorporating what made R&B so successful when it was and bringing it into 2008.
We caught our breaths after the duo finished, and my friend Nick found us up front; Frederic had thrown his cell phone into the audience and Nick had caught it. Becca and I, feeling particularly bold, decide it’s our mission to give this phone to its proper owner, and bust our way backstage to find Frederic. After some direction from roadies, we find him upstairs and tackle him (well, I did) for a picture, of which he kindly obliged to, I obviously look terrible here.
He’s playing another show on March 9 in SF before releasing a full-length this spring. I’m pumped.
Unfortunately, this is our high of the night. Becca’s jacket is stolen, and after 40 minutes of looking for it everywhere at the club, we cave into defeat and take a bus up Van Ness as close to North Beach as we can to then take another cab over the hill to find her car. Two stressful hours later, and I’m no longer blissfully drunk anymore and am now standing on the corner two blocks away from Bimbo’s in tears partly because I’m so frustrated and partly because I decided it was a great idea to text message my ex-love, who lives a few blocks from where we are. Becca is running up and down the streets of North Beach in vain to try and find her vehicle as I’m just pumping cigarettes in. We finally pay a cabbie to drive us around and find her car so much farther than when she remembered, and as we hopped into her car to catch MSTRKRFT with time to spare, her clutch became stubborn as all hell, and we couldn’t get it out of park. Finally at 1:30 AM we throw in the towel and call AAA to help us. The bright side is that her ‘stolen’ hoodie was actually recovered in the trunk of her car, and that I got home in one piece after everything, which I really was indeed thankful for. On the bus ride home all I had to do was think of everything pre-car situation, and it made me smile. All I hoped was that Sunday was going to be a strong finish.