Noise Pop: Friday happy hour at Benders

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Six dollars for a shot of Fernet and a PBR can? Amazing local talent? I'll order three of each.

Photos by Matt Kowal

Happy hour was a ritual mess as festival fees were lifted, drink specials were deadly and the bands blistered through half hour sets trying to beat the clock like the rest of us. It was only fitting the venue was called Benders.

[Maus Haus]

I have to commend Noise Pop for its loyalty to the city. Each happy hour night strictly featured local bands and was sponsored by Fernet Branca, an herbal amaro liqueur widely popular in San Francisco. The event even had Fernet girls, which amused the hell out of me as I proudly sported a Fernet stick-on tattoo the entire weekend. This is about the music, but seriously, drink Fernet, it's a drunks' medicine.

Friday's happy hour featured Tempo No Tempo, Sugar & Gold and Maus Haus, who we recently featured in a piece about Pretty Blue Presents.

[Sugar & Gold]

We only limited our inebriation and band appreciation by showing up a half hour late, missing Tempo No Tempo, but I heard through the grapevine it was a good set. Sugar & Gold are disco dance to the bone marrow like a band made out of blow and champagne. Not quite my thing, but definitely has a home in San Francisco. Impose's Kim Thompson reviewed Sugar & Gold's Crème last year.

This was my second Maus Haus show and I felt like I was hearing new material. The band neither confirmed nor denied, but the future is bright for this San Francisco six piece super group. Maus Haus intrigues me in that it toes a dangerous line of songs about technology and industrial apocalypses without sounding campy. Since the invention of the computer, or even the black transmission of radio, musicians have been leery of technological changes, but Maus Haus avoid the impishly clever axioms that victimize most bands concerned about the machinated future.

[Maus Haus]

Tempo No Tempo and Maus Haus will be at SXSW playing a free Wiretap Music Showcase at the Art Project on March 20.