The Bay Area-wide festival returns this month with shows from Yo La Tengo, Duster, Boy Harsher & more
The 2023 Noise Pop Music & Arts Festival kicks off in the Bay Area this week, celebrating 30 years of concerts, films, and events.
Originally a one-night affair of 5 bands at The Kennel Club (now The Independent), the festival has grown to a weeklong affair, featuring over 160 bands, 80+ events at dozens of venues, and is viewed by many as the unofficial kickoff of the live music season in the San Francisco area. After a smattering of shows in January, the music scene in the Bay goes into high gear for Noise Pop every February.
This year’s festival is no different, featuring non-stop music from rock n’ roll, electronic, hip-hop, jazz and everything in between. Headliners include indie rock legends Yo La Tengo playing the historic Fillmore, electronic duo Boy Harsher at 1015 Folsom, reunited Bay Area faves Duster at the Regency Ballroom, and SoCal punks Fidlar at Bottom of the Hill.
On the film side, the festival sees the west coast premiere of The Elephant 6 Recording Co., a documentary about the collective creative evolution behind the sounds of 1990s psychedelic rock revival bands Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples in Stereo, and more; The Flaming Lips Space Bubble Concert: Live in Oklahoma 2021, a concert film showcasing the Flaming Lips performing a socially-distanced live performance in 2021 in Oklahoma City where both performers and attendees were placed inside individually inflatable balls throughout the show; and CB4, the cult-favorite mockumentary starring Chris Rock, with special guest, director Tamra Davis.
With so many bands and events, here are a few other notable picks to check out:
- Chisel, Everyone Asked About You, and 20 Minute Loop, February 20 at Great American Music Hall –An opening-night celebration featuring several 90s throwback acts and cult favorites, headlined by Ted Leo’s Chisel.
- NoSo, Squirrel Flower, February 21 at Rickshaw Stop – NoSo, LA-based, former Tiny Desk Contest finalist performs in support of their latest album released last summer.
- Covet, February 22 at UC Theatre – The San Jose natives perform their biggest Bay Area show to date in celebration of their own upcoming album release.
- Ovrkast., Michael Sneed, Demahjiae, February 22 at Brick & Mortar Music Hall – Three rising Bay Area hip-hop acts on one bill.
- Fake Fruit, Flasher, February 23 at Rickshaw Stop — Rising local band Fake Fruit are joined by DC indie rock duo Flasher.
- The #HellaFunny Comedy Night February 23 at The New Parish – Beloved local comedy showcase makes its Noise Pop Festival debut.
- HE.SHE.THEY., February 25 at Public Work — Highly anticipated return of the international event series featuring special guests UNIIQU3, Chippy Nonstop, Chloé Robinson.
- Sobs, February 26 at Brick & Mortar Music Hall – The Singaporean rock outfit’s first ever North American performance.
- Junglepussy, February 26 at The New Parish – Support includes TIA NOMORE, who is the lead in A24’s newest film Earth Mama, which recently premiered at Sundance.
- Spellling, February 26 at Great American Music Hall — Oakland’s electro pop princess will help close out the week-long concert series on Sunday night at Great American Music Hall.
- Plus, a four-night residency at SFJAZZ Center’s Joe Henderson Lab featuring Nate Mercereau (Thursday, February 23), James Brandon Lewis (Friday, February 24), Zoh Amba (Saturday, February 25), and Satya (Sunday, February 26)