Norcal Noisefest at Sol Collective
Show for all ages
Day one of this year’s Norcal Noisefest was held on Friday, October 1 at Luna’s Café on 16th Street. About a dozen acts showed off their unique Noise (music) making abilities. Some of these acts, probably like people back in the Paleolithic Age, used any available material to construct music making instruments for their performance. Styrofoam, 10 gallon plastic water bottles, tin foil, bricks, soda cans, nails on a board, sticks, and other rudimentary noise making instruments were used to make rhythmic sounds. None of the shows I witnessed used the nails screeching down a blackboard but it would have been interesting. Traditional instruments played their part with some acts as did synthesizers, effect pedals and other similar instruments. Ear plugs were provided, if they were requested, and although not always necessary they did come in handy. In some cases it was music to the ears and in many it was interesting just to see what these artists used to experiment and evolve their Noisefest making abilities.
This was the 14th annual event funded in part by the Microgrant Program of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission with support from the City and County of Sacramento. Other event sponsors included Luna’s Cafe, Sol Collective, EMRL advertising, John Natsoulas Gallery Center for the Arts in Davis, Thee Instagon Foundation, KDVS, Noise FX, Brown Paper Tickets and Molotov Energy Drinks.
The event was broken down into three main sections called "The Good, The Odd, and The Ugly." Luna’s Cafe hosted The Good and Sol Collective hosted (the venue I attended) the odd and the ugly. Two smaller events were also included this year, a prelude at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis and a finale at Nebraska Monday at Luna’s Cafe.
Acts came and went in rapid succession. As one performer ended their set another began to set up and in some cases two groups would set up at the same time. Many of the acts are based in northern California but the show also included other acts from throughout the state as well as out of state and out of the states.
Most of the acts were made up of 3 to 4 members but this was about the only theme they had in common. Homemade instruments were also the “norm” as was the experimental phase of their Noisefest making abilities. One of the first acts I saw that included a traditional instrument was Houston’s Thomas Helton playing a stand-up bass. His set, I believe, touched almost every note conceivable reminding the listener that these acts will experiment and take their noise making to the next level.
Camino’s Noisepsalm included other traditional instruments, a cello and banjo, in their set but again their orchestral ensemble performed an untraditional arrangement. People react differently when they hear fingernails screeching on a blackboard some akin that sound to styrofoam being scratched, broken or rubbing a piece upon another piece. Styrofoam Sanchez used a similar technique during their set. The three member group, dressed in black suits, wore styrofoam masks during their act. Although their act seems to be easy to describe their arrangement was indescribable. I think at one point they may have been able to awaken neighbors across the street from Sol Collective.
I was mesmerized by the whole experience and although I only mentioned a handful of acts most of them indeed were music to
ears. This type of art has its place and the following it conjures is very impressive.
Noise, the next genre of music, has lasted 14 years via the Norcal Noisefest and for its 15th anniversary a film project is in the works. A full-length documentary will document the year long process of organizing the 15th annual event. For more information on the project and this year’s Noisefest log on to the Norcal Noisefest site.
Although neighbors from across the street did not complain about Noise it will be interesting to see how they react on Day of the Dead (Día del los Muertos). For the record – St. Joseph’s Cemetery is across the street from Sol Collective.
The “Ugly” section of the program started with Jolthrower wearing several Jolt t-shirts and making Noise with jolt (or some energy drink) cans. L.A.’s Pulsating Cyst followed and rhythmic Noise continued pulsating until close to midnight. Noisefest’s website contains a listing of all the acts for this year’s event. The 2011 film project will be covered and updated throughout the year and some history, along with photos from previous events, are available for viewing. Noise has been used to describe most genres of music at one time or another by different generations. Noisefest has been around for over a decade so you can’t call it new anymore and it can only continue to grow. Its teen years will be very interesting, thanks to the artists, organizers, supporters, and fans that continue to experiment with this type of art.
Acts that performed at this year’s Norcal Noisefest included; Big City Orchestra, Lords Of Outland, Uberkunst, Xome, Crank Sturgeon, En Nihil, Instagon:Mixer Set, +Dog+, Dental Work, Actuary, Chopstick, Liver Cancer, Klowd, Mucky The Ducky, Overdose The Katatonic, Pedestrian Deposit, Sharkiface, Pete Von Petrin (Formerly Fognozzle), Darryl Shawn, Jolthrower, Wrong Hole, Basidiomycota, Styrofoam Sanchez, Thomas Helton, Mama Buries, E Yard, Noisepsalm, Tarantula Princess’ Rat Skulls, Calm Inferno Archives, Medicine Cabinet, Cmbls, Reptile Alien, Ink On Suit, Audioemetic, Holly Herndon, Pulsating Cyst, Lifeliner+, Heating Metallurgical Schions, Vankmen, Smite!, Hammond, Corcoran Steed, and Shawn Quartet Striatins amongst others.
1 – Reptile Alien, 2 – Thomas Helton, 3 and 4 – Heating Metallurgical Schions
5 and 6 – Tarantula Princess’ Rat Skulls, 7 and 8 – Noisepsalm, 9 and 10 Tools of the Trade
11 – Sharkiface, 12, 13 and 14 – Mucky the Ducky
15 and 16 Styrofoam Sanchez, 17 – Neighbors across the street from Sol Collective
18 – Klowd, 19 – Big City Orchestra
20, 21, and 22 – Jolthrower, 24 – Pulsating Cyst