Wednesday night at San Francisco’s week-long music festival, Noise Pop, was one to remember. With three of the four acts sporting connections to the city, the sold-out hump day show was a local affair capped off by the headlining brilliance of Geographer.
Yet, before the Bay Area three-piece picked up their instruments, the stage was warmed by an eclectic mix of openers. Funeral Party, hailing from East L.A., curiously mixed emo-throwback lyrics with traditional rock jams to entertain a sparse opening crowd. Female rapper K. Flay got lots of love from the hometown crowd, which was clearly impressed by her smokey voice and intricate lyrics. Building her own beats from Decemberists’ and Gossip samples, the Suburban Rap Queen was on top of her game, changing tempos, flipping the bird and dancing across stage as a true one-woman show. Butterfly Bones completed the trio of opening acts with a brand of disco-infued synthpop that made them feel like Chromeo-lite. While their ridiculous song titles– “xoxo” and “<3″– may be a little off-putting, there’s no denying the band’s danceability and energy (see: DJ’s jazzhands).
Geographer, however, owned the night. The hometown heroes sounded phenomenal and as an added bonus, turned out to be great guys with lead singer Michael Deni taking a break from the show to return a lost wallet to audience member and offer himself as a potential future date.
Deni sounded fantastic, even while adding the synths, very light electric guitar, or electronic effects. Shoeless drummer, Brian Ostreicher, certainly played his part, dramatically building up the beat in the large crescendos present in almost every song. All drummers tend to have a specific drumming face, but Osteicher’s grimace was especially entertaining because it denoted an up-coming intense drum contribution. Nathan Blaz, formerly of St. Vincent, rocked out on the cello and gave Deni’s legato vocals a perfect bass register to work with.
Geographer opened with arguably three of their best songs, “Verona”, “Paris”, and “Can’t You Wait”, but with only eight released songs, there wasn’t too much choice. They played their entire Animal Shapes EP, to no one’s disappointment, plus a couple of new songs. The first newly composed piece carried on with their light indie pop, while the other was a much louder, drum heavy piece which lent itself more to head banging than hip swinging. Geographer closed with “Night Winds,” before coming back for an encore performance of “Heaven Waits” to exhaust their performance arsenal and leave the crowd thoroughly happy. Cheers Geographer, here’s to more Noise Pop.
Geographer – Can’t You Wait (download)
Funeral Party – Postcards of Persuasion (download)
A version of this review will be printed in The Stanford Daily.