What started as a $5 indie rock gig in 1993 has since evolved into a week-long, diverse festival celebrating independent music.
This year’s Noise Pop Music & Arts Festival, which ran from Feb. 24 to March 1, included dozens of touring acts and more than 70 local artists. It stretched across big and small venues all over the Bay Area (including a new four-night series at SFJAZZ), and extended to Sacramento and Santa Cruz.
Raphael Saadiq put on a fiery hometown show on Feb. 28 at Oakland’s Fox Theater, and it was one of the festival's biggest highlights. Playing guitar and piano, and sharing stories from his childhood in Oakland, Saadiq managed to make the sold-out concert feel like an intimate house show while delivering hit after hit.
Known for encouraging music discovery, Noise Pop continued its tradition of pairing artists in new, exciting ways. Emily Afton’s indie-rock ballads and Mahawam’s hip-hop vocals were a fitting introduction on Feb. 27 for fans of The Seshen, a six-piece band that hybridizes the two styles, mixing in a little Latin flavor. On Feb. 26, the crowd at Great American Music Hall swooned over Angelica Garcia's delicate yet soulful pop songs. Drawing from classical singing and opera, she transfixed the crowd before headliner Helado Negro hit the stage.
Post-punk quartet Mannequin Pussy put on a mosh pit-worthy performance at the Regency Ballroom on Feb. 29, which contrasted with Best Coast’s soft, heartfelt songs off of the band’s new album Always Tomorrow, about finding positivity during dark times.