Hazel English at the Rickshaw Stop for Noise Pop 2017 by Ian Young
Hazel English (photo: Ian Young)

I was surrounded by couples. All I wanted was a place to sit, away from everything, and focus on the music. I sat on a table, on the balcony, next to someone who seemed really important. I am not sure who they were, but there was a camera crew following their instructions. I started to pretend I was important myself, by writing notes in my very tiny notebook I got at Daiso.

I only took notes during Maggie y/o, because before this lineup was announced I had never heard of them. I didn’t even fully look up their music before going to the show, I wanted one surprise. I got a couple more than one during Maggie y/o’s set. Like I witnessed people creating a specific perfect space for people to walk through easily, which I’ve never witnessed at Rickshaw Stop. Also after a note in which I wrote “she’s got the ’90s alt female vocalist voice, like can take hold of a room while feeling very vulnerable.” They did a cover of a ’90s alt female vocalist CLASSIC aka “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia. Maggie y/o is a winner in my books/my very tiny notebook.

Tanukichan is always a treat to see live, because the music and stage presence which they hold is so sincere, full of love for what they’re doing. They quickly swipe you up and bring you back to reality, or in this case brought me down from being really anxious to be alone at the show. I tried to stop focusing on the couples multiplying around me (both in numbers and anatomically).

Once Elsa y Elmar came on, I was reminded of how ecstatic I was to see her live. Using some of the bandmates of Hazel English, Elsa y Elmar stunned us all. I don’t think any of us were expecting her performance, her charisma, and the fact that her music is by far larger in volume and character. Apparently barely moving to the Bay Area from Columbia, Elsa y Elmar made the first, in her words, mostly English speaking crowd she’s ever performed to fall in love with her and the people around them. All the couples were making out. I was a little uncomfortable by that, but completely in love with her. Elsa y Elmar stole the show, and even had a video crew recording it happen. Honestly, I am so happy to have this band in the Bay Area, and will forever continue to go the local shows and probably bring my mom because all her songs are in Spanish. She even made jokes through out telling us she was going to teach a new language, little did she know, there was one little local who’s first language is Spanish cheering her on. I am completely obsessed, and won’t stop until everyone is.

After this someone I didn’t know asked me to hold their spot, which I didn’t, because I left to go to the bathroom. Then it was time to see a musician I have watched bloom since what feels like the beginning on her career, and watch it skyrocket all over the world. Hazel English recently had a European tour, and is currently on a West Coast tour. I remember the first time she shared with me her music, and the first I saw her live, which was at last year’s Noise Pop fest. It feels like an honor to see how far she’s come in one year. Not only in her career, but stage presence. She not only has curated a great band, but feels more confident on stage. Singing to us all one new song, and all the songs that made us obsess in the first place. Hazel English is taking over the world, and I can’t wait to witness each drop of it.