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Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Photo courtesy of Kimberly Chunn

This past Friday night the Noise Pop Festival presented an epic night of music befitting the musical roots of San Francisco. Featuring THE FEROCIOUS FEW, SONNY & THE SUNSETS, THE GROWLERS and THE MUMLERS - a virtual dream Future Sounds of Bay Area bands; this lineup took the packed crowd at Café Du Nord back some forty odd years to time that all that mattered was the music. The only indication of modern times was the faint glow of cell phone screen illuminating the dark walls of the club.

First up were The Ferocious Few, a two piece led by troubadour Francisco Fernandez. More accustomed to serenading passersby on the streets of SF; Fernandez looked right at home playing aggressive acoustic cuts off their soon to be released full-length, Juices (Birdman). Accompanied by Daniel Aguilar on drums, The Ferocious Few steadily kicked off the night with sincerity and heart. I first caught The Ferocious Few when they tore up the small stage in the Blue Palms room at the Hollywood Brew Fest back in November and was glad to see that they still played with such fervor.

Clad in Beach Boy’s esque Hawaiian shirts, Sonny & the Sunsets took the stage and captured the crowd their simple and sweet guitar plucked tunes. Led by Sonny Smith, this four piece was minus singer/guitarist Thalia Harbour, her absence forcing a more stripped down performance, but the nonetheless emotive and entertaining. Their 10 song set was packed with light jangley gems, including my current obsession, the heartfelt “Too Young to Burn.” Sonny and company are a welcome change from the lo-fi grunge pop filling the scene right now, as their songs packed the perfect amount of punch, yet still retained the genuine sweetness of 50’s/60’s pop.

The Growlers channeled their own Almost Famous, as their traveling entourage included 60’s styled groupies with floppy hats, thigh skimming dresses and face paint. Their alcohol induced bravado lent itself to a soaring jam session that looked as if it was ripped from the pages of Rolling Stone, when they used to write about music and be headquartered in San Francisco.
Noticeably absent for the first song, lead singer Brooks Nielsen stumbled on stage, sorrowfully announcing, “I fucking passed out,” paving the way for a raucous set featuring soon to be classic tracks like “Barnacle Beat,Soul of Coral” and “Something Someone Jr.” Nielsen’s vocals combined with bassist Scott Montoya’s skillful playing showcased The Growlers patented brand of psychedelic surf rock and most definitely added to this night of throwbacks. All fur hats, dancing band-aids (Penny Lane!) and impromptu make-out sessions on stage, this Long Beach staple by way of Costa Mesa made me proud to be from the OC.

Culminating this night of vintage influenced sounds, San Jose natives, The Mumlers brought down the house with a soul wrenching live performance that won’t soon be forgotten, Will Sprott’s vocals harkens back to era of bourbon soaked jazz and blues clubs, thus the vintage speakeasy vibe of Café Du Nord (also the new home of the SF Rumble) was very fitting. A beautiful collision of clarinets, keys and horns, The Mumlers delivered a mind blowing set full of cuts off albums Thickets & Stitches and Don't Throw Me Away. A sea of couples emphatically danced to “Shake That Medication,” which sounded even better live. Personal fav’s included “Coffin Factory” and “Raise the Blinds.” The Mumlers are the kind of band that always keep you wanting more, as their legitimate musicianship, soulful lyrics and tenderness recall a time when music was meant to make you feel. The Mumlers live performance is heartbreak hotel personified, and I mean heartbreak in the best way possible.

Posted by Veronica Pulcini

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