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Dispatches from Noise Pop: Thursday 2/25





Dispatches from Noise Pop: Thursday 2/25

At the second night of free Happy Hour shows, things seemed a little less organized. Perhaps my mind was still paying its indulgences for the previous evening’s sins but things seemed to be moving slow and unguided. Be that as it may I sat and watched what little I could whilst fueling up on beer and greasy food before heading out to my next stop, Bottom of the Hill.

Shark Toys were first to take the stage and set the bar real low. Perhaps this may be garish of me but there is a certain gravitas and arrogance (or toughness to put it plainly) I expect from music that peaks my interest. The muted and introverted nerd-aesthetic of bands like the Moldy Peaches really has a hard time impressing me. Yet another indie kid, at one time unpopular in high school, whining about on stage and the world keeps turning. It may well be that it could work, but lesson to those who choose this musical direction, diversify your sound! Twenty minutes of a clean guitar being banged, supported by a faint keyboard track (whose volume in the mix may well mirror the shy stage presence of its performer) rarely maintains attention for more than a few moments. We get it, you’re expressing yourself, and we move on.

After a bit of delay, Social Studies followed. I had been under the impression they were last, and I would be totally missing them, but it seems that wasn't the case. Sadly, having to make my next appointment, I wasn't able to stick around and listen long enough to formulate an opinion but I can report they played.

At Bottom of the Hill throw back seemed to be, for the most part, the name of the game. I am well aware that within the parameters of the twenty year decade resurgence rule, that as in the last decade the 80s made their return, the next will certainly see the 90s having it's heyday once again (you can already see the rise in flannel). Within that context it's no surprise that we will be seeing bands bringing back some of the musical styles of that decade, and for the most part last night the 90s where very much present.

While it may seem most logical in this context to hearken back to the better parts of 90s music (of which there weren't many) openers Trophy Fire saw it fit to recall that desolate post-post-post-godit'sgettingridiculousatthispoint-post-grunge wasteland of the late 90s early 00s when we were all sitting around praying for something new to come along. They sounded as though they could have been contemporaries of bands like Fuel or Three Doors Down, and though not as horrendous as either, you get what I'm grasping at.

Picture Atlantic came on second and certainly did not deviate from this general them. Oscillating between a hooky pop sound and a very enthusiastically heavy rock, that at more than one time recalled the Red Hot Chili Peepers (another band low on my list), Picture Atlantic power-popped to a devoted crowed, a few whom I surprisingly spotted singing along. My preference towards their style aside, they were certainly entertaining to watch practically falling all over each other as they leaped around the stage... all that is for the drummer who played contrastingly reserved.

After another cigarette and another beer, the reason I actually came to this show took the stage, Stomacher. I've been catching mummers of them for weeks now, and after being sold by the recording of their song "Police," I was determined to check them out. They certainly did not disappoint. Capturing some essence of bands like Muse (only more interesting), Stomacher delivered a high energy set. With a driving rhythm section that barrels the song down on you like an oncoming train and a creative use of digital loops, they certainly stole the evening. Ending their set with an intense drum solo (a really hard task to not make overly cheesy) battling against a wash of loops added the final touches to an already impressive dish. I'll say it now, keep an eye on them! If they’re not on a rising track, there's something wrong with all of us.

Playing their reunion show Far took the stage last to a surprisingly enthusiastic crowd. Once again returning to that late 90s style (though being from that period it is of no surprise that is how they played), Far played their brand of hard alterna-rock to a crowd that knew all the words. After fighting through the crowd for a bit to attempt snapping a few pictures (more than once getting threatening looks from thick necked meat-heads who could not quite grasp my role as a member of the press) I decided that I had seen enough sacrifice to the alter of rock gods and made my exit a bit early. To all who were worried, surely with such devotion paid the harvest would be good, but by then I was tired of having guitars shredded and microphones shoved in my face for lyrics I didn't know.

With another night down, I look forward to tonight as the festivities continue with Four Tet and Weekend opening another Bender's Happy Hour. Be there or be square (so they say).

 

-Words and Photos by Ada Lann

Published: February 26, 2010 |

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