Between Bubble Gum and Avant Garde lies Noise Pop Festival

When it comes to the type of music I like, my ear is all over the place. I mean, if you pulled up my Spotify you would find absolutely no rhyme-or-reason to any of the recommendations it gives because in my brain there is no rhyme or reason to what I like. I attach myself to the feeling, the vibe, the lyrics, or sometimes I just attach myself to the moment. None of that relies on a specific genre.


Fact: Everything I just said is true.

Fact: While I love all kinds of music, the only music that I tend to seek out voraciously is hip hop.

There isn’t really an adequate way for me to explain how I feel when I get to spend my evening at a hip hop show. From the moment I walk in the door and grab my customary first drink (whiskey), to when the first opener comes on stage and the first blunt is rolled — each moment is like being enveloped in the comforts of home.

I love hip hop. I’d marry that bitch if I could.

But it’s 2018 and I am going to be turning 35 in less than a month. One major thing that I want to be able to accomplish this year is to continually push myself out of my comfort zone. Travelling outside of one’s comfort zone is often times the best place to grow. Grow your mind. Grow your soul. Grow your… whatever the fuck else you feel like growing, I don’t judge 😉 the point is, it’s time to see some new new this year. Especially when it comes to music.

There is no better way to make that happen in both a dynamic and memorable manner, then to go and plop myself down at as many festivals as I can this year. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to introduce myself to a new musical experience than to be surrounded by the energy of 20k other people who are there to do the exact thing. Any music fan can tell you that there is something magical in the air at a festival… and I am not just talking about the consistent cloud of weed smoke.

Though that helps…lol

In dedication to living my best life, and in cooperation with the beautiful state of California (where else could you possibly throw a two-week festival in the middle of February?) I present to you the first major musical experience of 2018 that I am completely excited for:

Bring in the Noise (Pop)


“What is Noise Pop, and why does it have a festival in the first place?”

If you are anything like me the above statement or something similar has run through your head at least once while reading this article. I’m glad you asked, because it’s an amazing segue for what I am about to talk about.

By definition, noise pop is a sub genre of music that was associated with the alternative/indie rock scenes of both the US and UK. The term comes from the music having crunchy, dissonant, almost clashing layers of noise/feedback intermingled with normal pop sensibilities. Which is why it makes sense to set the tone for a music festival by naming it that. It already lets someone know they are going to be in for something a bit atypical.

Noise Pop as an entity started in 1993 with it’s first show taking place at the Kennel Club (now The Independent) in San Francisco. The premise of the show was simple — if you had five dollars in your pocket and some free time on a cold night, you could see five bands play and probably get a little shit faced while you did it.

Noise Pop 1 Poster - Edited

“The show that started it all was really just a one-off event booked about a month out on a slow night in January, but it turned into a huge gathering and de-facto proclamation of a scene in San Francisco that wasn’t really formally declared at the time. Maybe the most exciting (moment) for me being a surprise appearance by the Fastbacks.” — Kevin Arnold, Founder of NoisePop

(The Fastbacks, for those playing along at home, were a punk-pop band from Seattle who had a bit of a cult following)

A little over a quarter of a century later, Kevin Arnold has built Noise Pop into the Bay Area version of SXSW without the reek of overly corporate sponsorship. Within it’s very mission statement, Noise Pop iterates what matters most when it comes the curation of the two week lineup. From their website:

By paying homage to the greats while focusing on the best of the up-and-coming artists, Noise Pop cultivates revitalizing experiences and supports the broad scope of Bay Area culture. By featuring a myriad of non-stop music ranging from electronic, to jazz, soul, rock n roll and more, the festival offers an opportunity for everyone and anyone to enjoy the celebration. Complemented by multiple art shows, film scores, talks, happy hours, after hours spots and more, Noise Pop truly champions the independent culture.

“Well that’s cool and all, but what makes you so excited for it Liv?”

Once again readers you ask all the right damn questions. This is why I fuck with you so tough — you just get me ❤️

So one of the main reasons that I am excited for Noise Pop is for the evolution of it. I like the idea of being able to see how something has evolved from a one-off show to a show with over 150 acts and venues participating, and more importantly, how they manage to do so without losing their souls. It is no easy feat to say the least. I want to roam the streets of San Francisco and listen to the sights and sounds of the city as it swells with music fans — and I want to be able to ask each and every one of them why they are there.


Also, I have to admit, I was more than a little excited to see hip-hop on the bill. Yeah, yeah I know I said I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, but it still lets me breathe a little easier knowing that if I need a moment to feel at home, I can duck in to see Caleborate spit a few bars really quick, or catch some vibes with Ty Dolla Sign, or perhaps stumble upon the ever elusive Jay MUTHAFKN Electronica, who is on my absolute-must-see list. I can allow myself a moment to steep in the depths of the 808’s and let the clever punchlines permeate my brain space before continuing on the journey into the rest of the unknown that is Noise Pop.

Phase 3 of the artists line up were recently announced, but rumor has it that there will be a final wave of artist announcements on January 23rd, so I will make sure to keep you posted. Until then take a look at the current lineup below, and click the link to get your passes. Noise Pop gives you the opportunity to purchase all access passes or to purchase tickets for individual shows depending on your availability.


I don’t know how many of the shows I will be able to make, but I am dedicating myself to AT LEAST five if Noise Pop will have me, and I promise that most of them WON’T be hip hop…

… but for real though. I’m not fucking missing Jay Electronica.

Get your tickets at the link and come spend some time with me


Until next time — fuck I love festival season

<3 Liv Styler
The Resident Stoner

IG = @thelivstyler
FB = www.facebook.com/livyours



Olivia Monahan

January 13th, 2018

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