Gregory and the Hawk at Cafe du Nord 2/24, Noise Pop Festival 2011

Sometimes Noise Pop Festival lineups aren't necessarily about Noise Pop as an entity. In fact, my very first Noise Pop show was in 2007, and I wasn't even aware that the Noise Pop Festival had been going on for years - I just wanted to see Spinto Band. And I did. And it was fun.

Day 3 of Noise Pop 2011 featured Film School, Apex Manor, Gregory and the Hawk, and Melted Toys at Cafe du Nord. Stylistically, you can draw some parallels between each band, or at the very least, appreciate what each act has accomplished and the role they each play in making up the festival as a whole. Or, you could be a group of die-hard fans who attended the show just to see an act play San Francisco for the first time.

Gregory and the Hawk at Cafe du Nord 2/24, Noise Pop Festival 2011

"I think this is the first time I've played San Francisco," a casual statement made by Meredith Godreau, who plays under the moniker Gregory and the Hawk. She was met by various gushing reactions: "You're welcome back any time!" "Please don't ever leave!" "We came here JUST FOR YOU!"

Gregory and the Hawk at Cafe du Nord 2/24, Noise Pop Festival 2011

Clustered up front by the stage at Cafe du Nord, while the rest of the concert patrons spread out in the back chatting over beers, a seemingly private concert session was going on - just the gorgeous, delicate folk of Gregory and the Hawk and her fans, who had been waiting a long time to finally see her perform live. In fact, the sheer devotion of her fans made her set feel entirely too short (although she played the standard-length set for an opening Noise Pop act). Too short is better than not at all, however, so hopefully the Bay Area will be seeing Meredith Godreau again soon.

Melted Toys at Cafe du Nord 2/24, Noise Pop Festival 2011

Melted Toys at Cafe du Nord 2/24, Noise Pop 2011

Before Gregory and the Hawk, Melted Toys opened the show - a smart opener, given the band's somewhat early buzz. They demonstrated significant chops, layering pop-inspired frameworks with hard riffs and playful synths. While I found myself wishing they'd dial up the energy to match the vitality of their music, both the band's presence and inspired musicianship were welcomed by the growing crowd.

Apex Manor at Cafe du Nord 2/24, Noise Pop 2011

I'm consistently (and pleasantly) surprised every time I enter a low-key Noise Pop show and leave later on amongst a packed house and explosive music coming from the stage. By the time the Apex Manor and Film School portion of Thursday's show rolled around, the crowd had gone from slowly filling to totally filled and the music had gone from light to heavy-handed. Both closing bands offered tightly-woven yet experimental musical chops, with garage-tinged pop on one side (Apex Manor) and fuzzy, upgraded shoegaze on the other (Film School). I left feeling like I'd gone from one end of the spectrum to the other, all in the course of one evening, and was uniquely satisfied as a result.

Apex Manor at Cafe du Nord 2/24, Noise Pop 2011

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