Every year, avid local show goers eagerly look forward to seeing what Noise Pop, the annual SF music festival celebrating the best in indie music, will offer. They know to expect a wide-ranging well-picked and inclusive lineup of many local favorites, and with each year that passes, much much more. This year's 15th anniversary festival not only provided a comprehensive lineup of music acts, but also featured art exhibits, film and comedy as well.
And as Noise Pop's festival grows, so does its calendar. Chris Appelgren joined the staff last year when the event went from a two-person operation putting on a six-day event to organizing and sponsoring events throughout the year with a full, year-round staff. He met with me at the Noise Pop offices in the Mission on Tuesday shortly before Freedm Night kicked off the festival. I was a little let down to discover that the office was not the frenzied mess of nerves and shouting I was expecting, but a constant stream of phone calls and inter-office questions did provide an appropriately industrious aural backdrop for our conversation. Chris described how Noise Pop has shifted its focus in recent years to accommodate changes in the music scene.
"As we've gotten bigger, our mission shifted to not only celebrating what's great about the city, but also teaming it up with great national artists in a way that's more intimate. We want the shows to feel carefully created and considered."
This year, I scanned the roster of over 110 bands playing over 30 shows, and felt pretty overwhelmed, but was excited to find Hella headlining aBottom of the Hill show. I'd been introduced to Hella, a math rock outfit from Sacramento with a steadily growing fan base around the country, a couple of years ago, but had never had the chance see them live before. The show was entirely packed, with the body heat inside beating the frigid chill creeping in from the outside and confirming the show's sold out success.
Like many other fans who came out expressly to see Hella, I knew next to nothing about the other bands that would be playing that night, which made it all the more of a special noisy treat to discover three killer acts -- each absolutely nothing like the previous.