31st annual Noise Pop Festival takes over San Francisco – CBS News

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Celebrating its 31st year, the annual Noise Pop Festival kicks off Thursday with a packed schedule of local and national indie-rock acts that runs through March 3.
A San Francisco institution ever since it began as one night of loud, tuneful local bands back in 1993, the festival has expanded this year to ten days of music, film and art featuring some of the most respected names in independent music. While the focus remains on the cutting edge of indie rock, the eclectic festival also features modern R&B, global grooves and even avant-garde electronic music. Noise Pop will also be presenting shows at unusual new venues with multiple events at Grace Cathedral and Mission District art space Gray Area.   
The festival commences on Feb. 22 with the annual NightLife kickoff party at the Academy of Sciences with electronic acts Bodysync (a collaboration between dancefloor heavyweights Ryan Hemsworth and Giraffage), jarradcleofé, and discnogirl. On Friday, the festival takes over the 4 Star Theater to present a screening of Dreamin’ Wild, director Bill Pohlad’s film about the lives of Donnie and Joe Emerson, two brothers who recorded their earnest, self-released 1978 album of the same name in their home studio in a remote part of Washington state. The record became a sought-after collectible and found new life when it was reissued by Light in the Attic Records three decades later. The screening will include a live Q&A and performance by Donnie Emerson and his wife Nancy Sophia. Starting Saturday, the 4 Star will also host two nights with SF skate legend turned musician Tommy Guerrero, who has been recording his mix of jazzy, Latin-tinged hip-hop/funk instrumentals for the past 30+ years. LA-based tropical space-age lounge band Healing Gems opens the two shows co-presented by Tunnel Records.
Another highlight of the festival’s opening weekend will be an appearance by pioneering Bay Area electronic composer Suzanne Ciani. After early studies in classical music, Ciani would begin to explore electronic sounds while pursuing her masters degree at UC Berkeley after meeting synthesizer inventor Don Buchla. The musician began using his Buchla 200 synth to write extended suites and live performances, insisting that venues be equipped to reproduce the instrument’s quadrophonic sound. Ciani enjoyed a long career in sound design as well as music (she created the signature “pop and pour” sound effect for Coca-Cola) and is widely recognized as one of the most important figures in early electronic composition. For this performance at Grace Cathedral Saturday night, improvising on themes drawn from her breakthrough 1982 album Seven Waves with her Buchla 200e modular synth after an opening ambient set from Celia Hollander. Ciani is among the artists featured in Sisters With Transistors, a documentary on the visionary women who helped create the foundation of early electronic music that screens at Gray Area Tuesday evening
The festival continues with a show by Black Belt Eagle Scout — the moniker of Native American alt-rock songwriter Katherine Paul — at the Rickshaw Stop Monday and a headlining performance from Canadian indie-folk band Loving at August Hall Tuesday. In addition to the busy schedule of concerts at venues across the Bay Area that will ramp up starting Feb. 28, the festival will also be hosting free happy hour events at Bender’s that will include band line-ups put together by local promoters Talent Moat, RWS Presents and Trixie Rasputin Presents.   
Other upcoming performers of note next week include hip-hop/soul legends Bone Thugs-N-HarmonyLindsey Jordan‘s indie-rock project Snail Mail, a solo show by Stereolab’s Laetetia Sadier, LA-based rock band Cherry GlazerrReverend Kristin Michael Hayter (the new incarnation of the experimental pianist/vocal artist formerly known as Lingua Ignota now using her real name), NYC songwriter and soul siren Kendra Morris,  UK electronic musician Actress (aka Darren J. Cunningham), Los Angeles soul act Thee Sinseers and Ethiopian-jazz keyboard great Hailu Mergia. More details about Noise Pop’s full schedule of events, tickets and festival badges can be found at noisepopfest.com.
First published on February 20, 2024 / 8:47 AM PST
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©2024 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.