Our First Noise Pop! The Soft Pack @ Cafe Du Nord 2-23-2012 Our First Noise Pop! The Soft Pack @ Cafe Du Nord 2-23-2012

Our First Noise Pop! The Soft Pack @ Cafe Du Nord 2-23-2012

Noise Pop is San Francisco’s own city-wide music festival spanning across the various venues scattered about the 7×7. Noise Pop started as a 5-band, one day event and has grown into a week-long festival that has featured local artists as well as some little known acts you may have heard of, like the White Stripes, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins. So we here at Pinpoint Music figured it was high time we checked this thing out and take a look for ourselves at what the people of San Francisco have known about for 20 years now.

We sent two of our San Francisco writers, Ryan and Laura, to Cafe Du Nord to see The Soft Pack, Shannon and the Clams, Fidlar and Surf Club. After several beers and a few ruptured eardrums, this is how they remembered the night.

Ryan: I don’t know about you Laura, but this was my first Noise Pop event and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, how would you describe the atmosphere?

Laura: I’d say calling it a festival is a bit misleading. Descending the dark steps of Café Du Nord, it reminded me more of an exclusive club set than an open show, but in a good way. The floor was full, but not packed and I was actually able to make my way to the stage without getting elbowed. I must say there were also some really awesome T-shirts in the mix.

Ryan: Did you notice anything unique about the crowd?

Laura: The crowd was pretty typical of the SOMA/ Castro/ Mission populace. A lot of ripped tights and ironic facial hair, but it was a generally happy group, even the usual mosh pit suspects seemed tame. The crowd really vibed with each band and added some great energy to the joint.

Ryan: Did you notice any differences between last night’s Noise Pop event and your average Thursday show?

Laura: Every show is different, but there was a buzzing sense of excitement about the place. I thought it was cool that each band asked the crowd about the sound quality. Smaller venues can be difficult to get it just right and every act was very conscious about how the crowd felt.

Ryan: I did notice that actually. So, I think we both agreed that Shannon and the Clams were pretty great, what did you like about them in particular?

Laura: When they took the stage, I thought I’d been transported to a scene of John Water’s Cry Baby. A skinny dude in high wasted jeans, rainbow suspenders, a red bow tie, and a thin, stick straight ‘stache pulled his guitar close to his chin and jumped on the mic followed by a voluptuous bleached blonde with pink lipstick with her hair in a poof. The confusing part was when the male lead opened his mouth to produce a soprano, high pitched wail that could certainly be mistaken for a woman. When the female lead let out her sultry, powerful voice I was stunned at the contrast. Although I was initially confused a bit, I have to give props to the harmonic duo. The sound was like an electrified “sock hop” and I thought it was fucking brilliant. The songs had an energetic sound that was in your face, but lacked the annoying, over the top angst that sometimes comes with the genre.

Ryan: I love the idea of a fucked up sock hop, although it was a little unclear to me which one was actually Shannon, did we get any info back on that?

Laura: Uhh…err…I plead the fifth.

Ryan: So, this was your first time seeing The Muslims, I mean The Soft Pack, thoughts?

Laura: I thought The Soft Pack killed it. The only research I’d done was listen to few quick Spotify playlists and I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome they were live. The sound was clean and the lead singer pounded out the songs into the mic without screaming or trailing off. I think my favorite part was watching the bass player, do a “McLovin on crack” impression and go all Elvis and rock out with leg spasms and old school dance moves. I genuinely enjoyed the entire set.

Ryan: I really enjoyed the set too, but I’m not sure if I would call the bassist Dave “McLovin on crack” to his face. After Shannon and the Clams we got asked to go and check out Dirty Ghosts just before The Soft Pack went on, we stayed; did we make the right decision?

Laura: I guess we’ll never really know, but I thought The Soft Pack kicked ass, so I have no regrets about staying.

Ryan: Most fans of The Soft Pack know the band changed their name early on from The Muslims to The Soft Pack; probably a good call. Is there any scenario where a band could actually be called The Muslims?

Laura: Hmmm…political correctness probably negates the possibility of having a name like ‘The Muslims’. However, I’m also a big fan of irony so I’d be cool with an all white, a capella, men’s choir in suspenders, that call themselves The Muslims.

Official Website for Noise Pop 2012: http://2012.noisepop.com/

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