Noise Pop Takes Over San Francisco

Bringing an unprecedented amount of beats to the festival was the lineup at The Justice League. DJ You DJ Me kicked things off with an electronic karaoke set, singing and rapping over prefab beats. Up next was No Forcefield, an eclectic electronic outfit consisting of members of Primus, ex-Skratch Pikl DJ Disc, and others and melding synth, drums, bass, and turntables into an often intoxicating, always bizarre aural stew. Disc managed to destroy Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme" with his beat-juggling, and the whole crew tore apart Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" with considerable aplomb. Headliner Money Mark was in rare form, delivering a set that bordered on the sublime, with a seven-minute interlude of orchestrated feedback and harmonica playing, a balloon trumpet routine, and a mutant vocoder workout. The Beastie Boys DJ, with '70s mirrored sunglasses perched over his eyes, topped the eclectic set by reworking his hit "Hand on Your Head" into a George W. Bush tribute number, "Hamburger Head."


The fest closed out Sunday night at the swanky Bimbo's 365 Club in lower North Beach. The show was a solid affair, ranging from the throbbing funk exposition of former skater Tommy Guerrero's Jet Black Crayon to the psychedelic garage rock of Pleasure Forever. The bill was pretty even, with emphasis on textured guitar workouts and feedback regurgitation. Saint Andre came off like the Throwing Muses if they had been weaned on '60s era King Crimson, delivering songs with off-kilter titles like "Two Its-Its and a Coke," while Pleasure Forever had a stripped-down ambiance that radiated with mesmerizing intensity due to the frontman's drawl and intricate keyboard compositions. The band's centerpiece was the epic "Free Port in a Storm," which went from honky-tonk cool keyboards to flange guitar and frenetic drums.

Blonde Redhead — two Italian brothers on guitar and drums and Kazu Makino on bass and guitar — dropped a hypnotic set of sinewy Euro-trash pop-inspired bliss and seductively classic rock inspiration, albeit tweaked with an atonal sensibility. Amedeo Pace fronted many of the songs, singing in a light, airy tenor. Alternating on vocals, Makino possessed an Eastern, Björk-styled flair, with hypnotic soprano affectations that came out like softly fused screeches. Overall, this New York power trio's output reverberated with cinematic depth, ranging from the minimalist to the Grand Guignol and leaving the audience in a mesmerized state of euphoria.

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