By Dylan Tarling
Austin has City Limits. San Francisco has Noise Pop. Now, Santa Barbara has its very own brand of a multi–venue, multi–night music festival featuring largely unknown bands gracing our city. The New Noise Music Conference and Festival held its first annual gathering on the weekend of October 5th and 6th, and altogether was a major success.
Of course, there were the occasional fans trying to stand on drum kits and falling off, or moments of Har Mar Superstar’s Sean Tillman taking it a step too far with his own brand of crazy. With these adding to the controlled chaos, both Friday and Saturday night were pure energy, fun, and all in all, a hell of a good time.
Aside from the live music, New Noise differs from other festivals in that it has a conference to assist many of the bands and people trying to make it in the industry on the coming changes in the music business. These different panels included everything from making events more environmentally friendly, to spreading band awareness, to protecting music. Through the use of online advertising, as opposed the more traditional flyering, solar panel devices to power venues, and bio-diesel to gas up tour buses, bands can attempt to lower their carbon footprints without threatening their own success. Other panel topics included receiving recognition from record labels and A&Rs, as well as getting one’s music known publicly while simultaneously protecting it from copyright infringment.
Jeff Theimer, the man responsible for creating New Noise, brought in Pandora founder Tim Westegren as the keynote speaker to address the constantly changing technology in the music industry. He spoke on the importance of keeping up to date on technical matters, as it makes the difference to small unsigned bands in getting their name out to the public. The panels also helped to explain different online music revolutions and how to use them to a band’s advantage.
Along with all that information, there was actually music played. Some of the finer shows included sets by lesser known bands The Outline and The Growlers:
The Outline had a very different live sound than the recordings would lead the listener to believe. Their recordings have a very true alternative rock sound to them whereas their live shows have a bit of an Interpol sound but with a little more pop to it. It was quite an awe inspiring show as they flawlessly glided from one song to the next (once they got their sound issues figured out). Adding to the show was great lighting, which may not seem consequential but when playing music in a half-assed attempt at a music venue, the lights can take you to the venue that these future starts should be playing. Key track: “Why We’re Better Now.”
Another amazing set happened on Saturday night, mind-blowing band from Costa Mesa, The Growlers. They came in with a thunderous clash of blues, psychedelic, and riffs reminiscent of Dick Dale. They brought an energy that is seen in shows by the likes of Kasabian or Pennywise (say what you want, but they bring it). Their stage demeanor, crowd interaction, and the pure urge from the crowd to hear what was coming next, makes missing this show next time, out of the question. Key tracks: “Old Cold River” and “Soul of Coral.”
And for those wondering: yes, Har Mar Superstar was there. It was the typical antics but a short Ron Jeremy with no clothes, completely shithoused, is worth a mention, simply for comedy’s sake. But when most of us go to a show, we want something that’s gonna make us feel better, not a Ron Jeremy look-a-like rubbing up on us. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were there too. They played a good show but nothing that overhype couldn’t kill.