Arts & Entertainment Editor
Santa Barbara’s New Noise Festival is a very compact musical event, but it hasn’t always been that way. It evolved from a sprawling assortment of acts – 2010’s lineup included over 50 artists as varied as Massive Attack and Peanut Butter Wolf – into a narrower selection. Thankfully, no acts are overlapping, a common pitfall of large music festivals, allowing the avid concert attendee an opportunity to attend a weekend of music without having to sacrifice seeing one act for another.
The festival is an assortment of separate shows spread out starting on Friday and ending on Saturday. Psychedelic pop outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra and electronic indie act Starfucker (STRFKR) are playing consecutively on Saturday at 3 p.m., and local ska-punk heavyweights Mad Caddies are heading an evening of reggae and ska featuring the Expander, the Upbeats, and Spencer the Gardener on Sunday starting at 12 p.m.
Opening for the 3 p.m. show is Night Riots (formerly PK), a pop rock band from San Luis Obispo. Both are playing on a stage assembled specifically for the festival in downtown Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone district, and should not be hard to locate beyond that.
Outside of the outdoor, town fair-style festivities, some New Noise shows are taking place in Velvet Jones as well, one of State Street’s coziest music venues with a club atmosphere. A group called HO99O9 (pronounced “horror”), New Noise’s only hip-hop act, is playing there at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Their sound is experimental, mixing together the horror-core of artists like Tyler, the Creator with hardcore punk; their more punkish tracks sound like Death Grips teamed up with Dr. Know. For lovers of heavier music, this show should satisfy nerves that might otherwise go untouched.
Though New Noise isn’t on as large a scale as some of SoCal’s mega-festivals, it is presenting a nicely curated selection of artists in an area convenient for Santa Barbara-area residents to attend. The two spread apart locations recall a minimalist South by Southwest on the coast; a stimulating and danceable weekend right in UCSB’s indie-leaning backyard.