Live: Tapes N Tapes Date: Tuesday, February 27 Opener: Har Mar Superstar, Extra Action Marching Band, DJ David Cross Better than: your average Tuesday night without an open bar Rating: two out of five bananas
Industry insiders and indie scenesters followed their primary rule of "don't act excited" during the opening night of the 15th Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco Tuesday, denying headliners Tapes N Tapes an encore while politely golf-clapping with one hand clutching a free Heineken. The underwhelming evening stayed afloat thanks to the open VIP bar, the Extra Action Marching Band, and other great performances. But let's face it - it's frickin' Tuesday and we all have to work the next day.
Comprising 110 bands over 6 days at more than a dozen venues, San Francisco's Noise Pop Festival is arguably the biggest Northern California music event, even though it's 10 times smaller than Austin's South By Southwest. Tuesday's show at the Mezzanine kicked off the event thanks to Doc Martens, who sponsored the FREEDM Night - meaning free entrance to web-savvy applicants, a 90-minute open bar, and hundreds of pounds of free posters, t-shirts, eMusic gift cards and ice cream.
Highlights included Midwestern indie quartet Tapes N Tapes performing all the good songs off their 2005 debut The Loon, including "Just Drums" and "Manitoba" which had maybe 10 percent of the crowd dancing, and ended with no encore.
Equally denied, Oakland's Extra Action Marching Band ushered in Noise properly with a blasting, 25-person person brass and dance ensemble that worked its way through the crowd. Lots of pounding drums and trumpets and g-strings and pom-poms made Mezzanine feel like a Mardi Gras parade, except for the goddam audience, who seemed drugged with lithium. If some small town hall in Santa Cruz got a chance to party hard with Extra Action, they would've torn the fucking place apart.
Similarly, party-hungry inland crowds would also riot if they saw Minneapolis' Har Mar Superstar do his thing, but he would be the target. There's nothing quite like this balding, beer-gut-laden white dude crooning "Sexy/Back"-style dance pop while flashing his man boobs. His sincerity made up for his vulgarity. And anyone willing to strip down to their tightey-whiteys in front of the meanest crowd in North American has two swinging brass ones that go clang-clang when he dances. "Fuck you for not applauding that," Har Mar said after a particularly exposing ass-dance. Fuck you, indeed.
PS: Comedian David Cross DJ'd a set, but no one danced or even stepped within 10 meters of his turntable for fear of some searing burn about being a hipster. Touche, Mr. Cross and your invisible moat of heckling.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Previous experience: Tapes N Tapes' The Loon; Public Enemy at Mezzanine Personal bias: Pro-The Loon; Pro-bands with brass and nudity; anti-ennui Random quote of the night: "I should be a billionare." -Har Mar Superstar
VIDEO OUT: Oakland's epic Extra Action Marching Band
Har Mar Titty Flash
Tapes N Tapes do "Manitoba"