Photos by: Charlie Homo
While it is awesome that overall Noise Pop 2010 is roughly 2/3 Bay Area bands, Wednesday’s show at Bottom of the Hill offered an even better 75% local and 100% good ol’ California fun. I met another writer riding the 10 over who just moved out from Florida and told him there was not a better way to be introduced to the Bay Area indie rock scene.
Kicking things off was Two Sheds, led by a husband (Johnny Gutenberger – bass) and wife (Caitlin Gutenberger – guitar/vox) duo, and bringing in the awesomeness of another lady on lead guitar and synth. They eased the growing crowd into the evening, starting off with some lighter fare but, by the end of their set, they beautifully devolved into an orchestrated, cacophonous symphony of carefully selected dissonant sounds.
Building on the energy that Two Sheds pumped straight into the crowd’s veins, Man/Miracle wailed. With slightly affected lead vocals a la Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, and distorted, heavily syncopated, and sometimes dual harmonized, guitars, Man/Miracle brought a little of Oakland’s clash of metropolitan and gritty urban life with them. These guys know what it means to have stage presence, not because they’re trying, but because it flows naturally in their lifestream. If you’re headed out to SXSW, be sure to catch them at the Bay Area Takeover at the Beauty Bar on March 18th.
Princeton was up next and they played their hearts out with a tightly executed pop sound. Imagine Vampire Weekend minus (I apologize to you VW fans in advance) all the bullshit Paul Simon ripoffs. Very good Cali-grown, surf-boards-packed, sunny-drive-to-the-beach-pop. The guys grew up together in Santa Monica (on Princeton, hence the name), played together for a while, parted ways for college, then met up back in London and kicked things off again. You can tell how close they are off the stage just by how clean and solid they sound onstage.
Closing things out was a Bay Bridged favorite, Rogue Wave. These guys, despite everything they’ve gone through (I won’t rehash this as it’s been widely discussed but just check out their Wikipedia entry for more info), they continue to get better and better. They unleashed some new songs on the audience that went over very well — good enough that it got people shaking their asses and bobbing their heads. That’s my litmus test for a good time. With no exceptions whatsoever, it was one hell of a good time at Bottom of the Hill Wednesday night.