PHOTOS: Noise Pop 2020 Offered an Exhilarating Mix of Stars and Underground Acts Alike

Sudan Archives headlines the Starline Social Club during night two of the Noise Pop Music and Art Festival on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (Estefany Gonzalez)

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.

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See our photos with highlights from Noise Pop 2020 below.

Raphael Saadiq headlines the Fox Theater in Oakland on Friday, Feb. 28. (Estefany Gonzalez)
The crowd at the Fox Theater in Oakland during night five of the Noise Pop Music and Art Festival on Friday, Feb. 28. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Best Coast Headlines night six of the Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival at The Regency Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 29. (Estefany Gonzalez)
The crowd at The Regency Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 29. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Mannequin Pussy play night six of the Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival at The Regency Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 29. (Estefany Gonzalez)
The Seshen headline the Rickshaw Stop on night four of the Noise Pop Music and Art Festival. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Mahawam plays at the Rickshaw Stop on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Helado Negro backstage at the Great American Music Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Helado Negro plays a sold out show the Great American Music Hall during night three of the Noise Pop Music and Art Festival on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Emily Afton backstage at the Rickshaw Stop on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Emily Afton plays at the Rickshaw Stop on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Velvet Negroni performs among festival attendees at the Starline Social Club on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Death Valley Girls play a surprise "After Hours" Noise Pop show at Cafe du Nord on Friday, Feb. 28. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Death Valley Girls backstage at Cafe du Nord during night five of the Noise Pop Music and Art Festival on Friday, Feb. 28. (Estefany Gonzalez)
Tyler Holmes plays night six of the Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival at the Swedish American Hall on Saturday, Feb. 29. (Estefany Gonzalez)