By: Rachel Milani
If you haven’t noticed, shoegaze is back. Although our generation isn’t comfortable with the identity that word conjures up– traversing genres is, admittedly, the worst part of writing about music– there is no doubt that dreamy, reverb-heavy rock n roll is having a(nother) moment. Cue the lineup at Bottom of the Hill on Wednesday, February 24th for Noise Pop Festival which featured headliner Ringo Deathstarr plus supporting bands Bed., Plush and Crush.
Though it wasn’t the most popular option of the many shows taking place across San Francisco on Wednesday night, this was an important lineup. The bill catered to a semi-niche audience that may shy away from a more easy listening experience, as is found in many popular “indie rock” outfits receiving attention these days.
The crowd at Bottom of the Hill was comfortably packed but nowhere near the eagerness enveloping larger venues that catered to the aforementioned more mainstream artists. Fortunately, the former situation makes for the best kind of show and Ringo Deathstarr’s performance on Wednesday night was no exception. The night kicked off with local band Crush who took the stage at 8pm to an already decent sized crowd. As a post-punk four piece, they did their job by filling the space with dreamy guitars. Bed. and Plush followed suit.
When Ringo Deathstarr came on, the cozy crowd pulled in even closer. Guitarist and vocalist Elliot Frazier flexed a pedal board replete with all the effects a dream pop aficionado could ask for and then some. Samples and loops with Rackmount effects served to power and shape the way he led the tracks. The result was the dense, lush sound that Deathstarr fans have come to expect. It was powerful to be enveloped in thanks to the relatively tiny space at Bottom of the Hill. Bass player Alex Gehring punctuated that guitar and created an emotional foundation for each track to be formed upon. Meanwhile drummer Daniel Coburn, who was decked out in pot leaf pajamas and a suspiciously goofy grin throughout the duration of the show, rounded out the line-up.