On what made for a very fun, very female, very queer final night of Noise Pop, Bay Area locals the Total Bettys joined Blushh, Dude York, and Partner for one last hurrah on the quaint stage of Cafe du Nord Sunday.
Opening the night were the Total Bettys, a queer pop-punk outing that have consistently released succinct, lively tunes that never shy away from dealing with tough issues like mental illness. Anchored by the uplifting delivery of songwriter Maggie Grabmeier, the songs never are a drag.
Similarly, the fuzzy cotton-candy tunes of Blushh kept the small crowd head nodding. Lead singer Shabnam Ferdowsi’s way around a vocal hook was easy to recognize, and easily cherished (For validation, look no further than “I’m Over It,” from recent EP Thx 4 Asking.
Playing first on the bottom half of the bill were Seattle’s Dude York. Signed to Hardly Art, the band’s ’90s-hued garage rock is made stronger by each band member’s equity. Bassist Claire England and guitarist Pete Richards share songwriting and singing duties, and their banter with drummer Andrew Hall showed their strong cohesion.
Touching on some tried-and-true themes of loving who is wrong for you, Dude York slammed through their set without time for a respite.
Before ending the set, Hall sort of insinuated a new record is on its way, but was coy about the release.
Lastly, our neighbors to the north, Partner, played a show full of tunes about bong hits, being confused for Ellen Page, and finding sex toys in your roommate’s bedroom. Subtlety might not be their strong suit, but best friends Josée Caron and Lucy Niles clearly aren’t concerned about nuance.
2017’s In Search of Lost Time is chock-full of skits and songs about being outrageously stoned and proudly gay. It would be easy to take them at face value as a joke band, but Niles and Caron make up for their frivolity with riffs that completely rip. Watching Caron smoothly shred several guitar solos was way more fun than anyone should be having on a Sunday night.
With a supporting drummer, the duo completely tore through Cafe du Nord, playing through much of the aforementioned record along with a couple of new songs from their upcoming EP, Saturday The 14th.
Partner is a queer-as-hell Tenacious D, and in an ideal world where Canadians other than Justin Bieber are culturally viable in the United States, Niles and Caron would star in the School of Rock sequel. In the meantime, let’s keep our fingers crossed for their cover version of Fountains of Wayne “Stacey’s Mom.”