Noise Pop 2015. Part One; Hang On To Your Ego.

Joshua Rampage / March 23, 2015


Noise Pop is a San Francisco staple. It is the modest equivalent to CMJ in NYC and SXSW in Austin. The main difference is while this festival celebrates national acts, it also champions Bay Area talent in a shamelessly nepotistic way. Because I live here, I can dig that.


Which brings us to opinions and egos. Once upon a time there was a dude named Sigmund Freud. He defined three theoretical constructs of psychic apparatus; the id, ego and super-ego. The ego mediates the desires between instinctual id and the critical, moralizing role of super-ego. Basically I think this means your gut needs to be super tight with your brains otherwise shit’s gonna hit the fan.


All expressions of ego are prey to some beast. Walking down Mission Street to Brick + Mortar Music Hall, I manage to piss off my photographer enough for him to quit before we even get to the venue.Whoops. Ok no sweat, let’s be professional here. I’ll just take pictures with my iPhone. Sure sure, I got this.


But upon arriving my spirit is crushed. I’m angry, I’m bummed; self-righteous and remiss. I’m feeling fundamentally ready to hate all of the music I’m about to hear. My ego insides are hitting the fucking fan.


All of the acts will be playing laptops exclusively, save one. Some people could give a shit either way, but not me. I have opinions. Not tonight though. Instead I’m going to remember what happened 20 minutes earlier, and keep my mouth shut (Ego Check). At least until I write about it later.I order a beer and sit down next to an older couple that turn out to be the opening act’s parents.


RZN8R. My favorite part of his performance is when he raises his arms, makes a face and then drops his arms with the next level beats (Ego Panache). His vocals are classically trained. His mom confirms this for me. I believe it when he says to the audience “I like to mess with sounds, it’s what I do, it’s what I live for”. Beauty.


YALLS. Admittedly I am outside having an ego-laced meltdown during most of his set. Though it is apparent the people are very much into his electronic collages (Ego Boost).


MONSTER RALLY. A wonderful mix of tropical samples, Caribbean soft sand and sugary rum drinks with smart hip-hop sensibilities. The album artwork is an always impressive assemblage, and he has no pretensions. Works the crowd with tracks from his prolific 7 EP/5 LP output and then gives a shout out to his brother in the audience – “Yo Eric, yo, happy birthday dude” (Ego Balance). Brings the house down with “Orchids”.


TV GIRL. I stay long enough to take a picture to fuel their egos with should they google themselves (Ego feed). They are from LA and have a 90’s vibe; Sugar Ray and Sublime and maybe the Stone Roses dressed in wolfish Beastie Boys clothing. They also have a mannequin in their band but she does not have an ego.


Walking home after the show I decide the ego is necessary. Without it, people would be boring as fuck and nothing interesting would ever transpire. Without egos, I would have never written this review because there would be no Noise Pop, bands, (or producers or laptop artists or whatever) desires or ambition in this world. Egos make things happen. Hang on to yours, dear diary, hang on because you need it.

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