Magic Bullets
Photo by: Matt Mayott

A large number of comedy and music fans gathered at the Mezzanine for the SF performance of Human Giant last Thursday as part of Noise Pop. The sketch trio made the leap from Internet videos to a successful MTV series whose second season begins next week. Don’t let the fact that it’s on MTV scare you away; the first season was an island of hilarity in the network’s sea of mediocrity and self-degradation, featuring guest appearances and writing contributions by some of the best comedians around.

The mostly-seated show featured a mix of sketches from the new season and live bits from members Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel; Paul Scheer had left the tour to film a movie role and all of the group’s post-SF dates had been canceled. Thankfully, though, the show continued on without him, and featured some funny segments, including a live performance by the popular Illusionators, and a man who becomes famous by doing something horrible to his genitals. The group excels at setting up relatively straightforward concepts, where an easy punchline might seem apparent, and veering somewhere extremely bizarre, unexpected, and very funny.

Although a majority of folks left as the Mezzanine staff cleared out the seats, a dedicated seventy or eighty stuck around for a great-but-short set from San Francisco’s Magic Bullets. As they told us in their interview, the band’s live set was noticeably more amplified than the jangly pop of their debut album. Still, the arrangements retained a certain minimal elegance, setting up a bed of tones upon which singer Philip Benson projected his signature Brit-reminiscent blend of emotive crooning and yelping.

The singer’s posture matched his musical role, as he danced around on- and off-stage, inspiring crowd members to get moving as well. Benson noted that the band hadn’t played in the Bay Area in a couple of months and, looking at their calendar, it’s another month from now until they play here again. Catch them when you can, as these opportunities may become fewer and farther between.

LA’s Voxhaul Broadcast showed a lot of energy during their opening set, even if it was a little tough to pin the band down to a specific sound. To that end, the group’s slower songs blended a thick, fuzzy low-end with airy melodic vocals in a way that simultaneous took great advantage of the club’s sound system while maintaining an engaging warmth. The band’s MySpace page cites a mix of soul and Motown influences, and a number of tunes made good on this claim. Still, the band also offered a number of dancey-pop-rock songs that, reminiscent of another “Vox-” band among others, felt a little more predictable and straightforward. They were still plenty catchy, but didn’t leave the same imprint.