High schoolers in
thrift-shop threads and industry reps in nice leather jackets comprised
the majority of the turnout for the third installment of Noise Pop
'96, an all-ages daytime show at San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill.
Though a trio of local acts played equally spirited sets on this
drizzly Saturday afternoon, the two bands catering to the young'uns
scored first and most convincingly.
Opening band Maxiwagon, a local entry by way of Davis, delivered a
meaty set of uptempo trad-punk tunes. These bandmates surely own their
share of Bad Religion and Social Distortion records, but they seem to
admire many groups outside the punk party line as well. Visually, the
group cut a striking portrait, with the band's Asian boy/girl rhythm
section flanked by a pair of blonde-headed male guitarists-- one thin
and wiry, the other pushing 230. Clad rather fashionably in a bowling
shirt and a choke chain, the big guy deftly manhandled his tiny Les
Paul, while his bookend-- a much less imposing fellow with a Converse
All-Star sticker pasted to his own Gibson guitar-- sang hyper-melodic
lead on most songs. Maxiwagon has a full-length record forthcoming, on
Davis' Omnibus label, if I heard right.
It's easy to picture the three members of the Groovie Ghoulies still
springing awake every Saturday morning to watch cartoons in their
jammies. As usual, this garage-punk trio came to the Bottom of the Hill
equipped with an assortment of Halloween-themed stage props from their
Sacramento toy box. Bassist Kepi scarcely heeded his recently-broken
ankle, pogoing on his one good foot from the first notes of "Hello
Hello." Celebrating their invitation to play Noise Pop, the band played
roulette with their set list, as Kepi, his wife Roach on guitar, and
drummer Wendy each took turns calling out titles from their catalog.
Though the Ghoulies just finished recording an album (to be released on
Lookout!), they stuck mainly with standbys for this showcase gig. Songs
like "I Ain't Talkin' to You!" and "The Beast With 5 Hands" had the
group's youthful fans responding in well-rehearsed unison, while a
cover of the New York Dolls' "Lonely Planet Boy" proved these perpetual
kids haven't neglected their history lessons.
Tilt, a San Francisco quartet that has spent a considerable amount of
recent time on the road, played a crisp set of angry diva-punk that
smacked of bitterness in light of the opening acts' levity. Tilts
defiant vocalist spat out songs like "Unravel" and "Lips Tits Hips"
(Check out MediaCast's
of the live performance.)
like she'd had just about enough of the road, thank
you very much, while her bassist's idle threats to cover Ozzy Osbourne
and Journey may have been taken a little too seriously by a few
audience members, who hollered "You suck!" They don't, but Tilt was
probably a bit long in the tooth for this festival's fresh-scrubbed
Additional songs and QuickTimes can be found at
the MediaCast web site.