Photos by: Rachel Keenan
My friend calls me up just before noon on Saturday and says there’s some show down the street in someone or other’s yard in a few hours. Turns out to be a cluster of three kick ass garage pop bands tucked behind a turn of the century house on Folsom in the inner Mission, a swath of Ray Bans overlooking the deck, and a bunch of smiley neighborhood rock kids drinking Red Stripe in cans. Just about saved the day from an earlier excursion to Dolores Park, where a proselytizing God-abiding hippie band had their monitors cranked to eleven and five-year olds were trying to hand me out abridged excerpts from the Old Testament. Yikes.
I walked in just a few songs into Brilliant Colors‘ set, pleasantly surprised by their dead-on musicianship and deceivingly simplistic hooks — certainly worthy of good standing among Slumberland legends Black Tambourine and Henry’s Dress, as well as recent Brooklyn sensation, Vivian Girls. Nothing too cute, no psychedelic or jam-ridden interludes, just pure Saturday afternoon rock.
NODZZZ, who’ve been playing a bunch around town with Thee Oh Sees and others and are gearing up for a European vacation in September, came on next and played a shortish but spirited set. Actually, I can’t remember if it was short — there was a beer run in there somewhere, and they play a lot of wicked short tunes (their record was about 10 tracks in 16 minutes). I do remember hearing “Is She There”, definitely one of the Bay Area underground breakthrough hits of the year so far.
Grass Widow closed the afternoon out with a similar bent as Brilliant Colors, adding dashes of surf riffs and dizzying counter harmonies, reminiscent of The Fall. After clicking through some of their recordings online, I’ve made a note to check in on them in a proper venue sometime, as they might have been a little disadvantaged with the yard show sound to weave their arrangements around my ears better. Nevertheless, they capped a perfect afternoon. Nap time.