If you're a fiend for giant festivals -- i.e, you didn't bat an eye at this year's Coachella prices, you live for the time-management Rubik's cube that is trying to see as many bands as possible on different stages with conflicting set times in a crowd of 10,000 inebriated people -- well, more power to you.
If you're not? Come sit with me.
It's no slight whatsoever when I say my favorite thing about Noise Pop -- the annual Bay Area music and film festival that runs from Feb. 17 through Feb. 27 this year -- is its scant resemblance to a traditional festival. Unlike an overblown weekend in the desert, Noise Pop is a 10-day fest that takes place at independent venues throughout San Francisco and the East Bay, at venues as small as Bottom of the Hill and as large as the Fox Theater.
This structure has benefits that trickle down. Those venues (which need your support more than ever) make money; people use public transportation (hopefully), and patronize local bars and restaurants before and after shows. Remember, a healthy nightlife scene is one attribute of a healthy city.
Now in its 25th year, Noise Pop has also expanded its range considerably: what began in a pretty cozy indie-rock and -pop zone now boasts hip-hop, folk, metal, electronic music, and more (not to mention the film offerings, which are worth perusing on their own). Only problem is, other people have noticed it's a pretty darn good festival too -- which is why many shows have already sold out. Never you mind: Here's a handful of great shows to which you can still buy tickets.