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Portugal. The Man Dominates du Nord

And that’s an understatement. Easily the best performance of Noise Pop 2009, Portugal. The Man delivered nearly a 2-hour set cruising through almost the entirety of Censored Colors and even a few previews from their upcoming album.

Lead singer John Gourley and bassist Zachary Carothers played a good portion of the show with their backs to the crowd (we can’t help but wonder if John’s slight stage fright had something to do with this). Nonetheless, the performance was somewhat reminiscent of Jim Morrison in his early days - no talking, no frills, no direct connection with the crowd, but somehow one of the most solid and touching sets that we’ve ever seen.

Wicked Witch to Progressives: Poppies will Make You Sleepy….

Viral you tubery made an overnight hit of “Prop 8 the Musical” – the Funny Or Die video that received more than 1.2 million hits on its first day out. The Neil Patrick Harris fronted song and dance revealed how totally silly homosexual panic is and put the Jesus argument in its place. But as the website says the video was” Conceived and Written (six weeks later than he shoulda) by Marc Shaiman.”

The Yelp Tee: Almost More Brilliant Than Pizzeria Delfina's Pizza

Pizzeria Delfina might defiantly blast their punk music, but their punkest idea yet is their staff t-shirts, which had somehow bypassed me until I ran into Anne Stoll (co-owner and wife of chef Craig Stoll) the other day. We got talking, then gossiping, then bitching and lo and behold, the topic of Yelp came up. Yelp's been making some juicy headlines (see Jeremy "Big Papa" Stoppelman respond here).

Bar Refaeli Dons Robindira Unsworth on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover

Model Bar Refaeli isn’t the only star sparkling on the cover of the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which hit newsstands in February and created even more than the usual amount of bikini-driven buzz when this year’s magazine cover landed a gig traveling around the country as the temporary exterior of a Southwest Airlines plane.

No Age Brings the Noise to Noise Pop’s Last Day

It’s only appropriate that the Los Angeles duo No Age wrapped up Noise Pop ‘09 at Bottom of the Hill on Sunday afternoon with their noisy brand of Thurston Moore-inspired dissonant punk rock. The following are optional at a No Age show: wailing in tune, bass guitars, lead guitar solos, and tracks over three minutes. Guitarist Randy Randall, who looked disturbingly like Val Kilmer as John Holmes in the movie Wonderland, and drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt wasted no time in putting the noise back in Noisepop, jumping into “Teen Creeps” off Nouns, their Subpop debut album. Every time one of No Age’s songs veered toward pop melody, they made sure to interrupt it with a crunching power chord progression or a wave of distortion. But pop compromise is not what No Age is all about.

Pickles: Send out the Clowns (and Send in the Burgers)

The clowns have left the building. On our last visit to this Columbus Avenue burger joint—which was soon after the Myth folks took over and changed its name from Clown Alley to Pickles—the burgers were terrific, but some of those creepy clowns still lurked about the place. Now, restaurant designer Michael Brennan has done his magic and, along with adding upholstered booths and a gas fireplace, has banished the Ronalds. 

The Yelp Tee: Almost More Brilliant Than Pizzeria Delfina's Pizza

Pizzeria Delfina might defiantly blast their punk music, but their punkest idea yet is their staff t-shirts, which had somehow bypassed me until I ran into Anne Stoll (co-owner and wife of chef Craig Stoll) the other day. We got talking, then gossiping, then bitching and lo and behold, the topic of Yelp came up. Yelp's been making some juicy headlines (see Jeremy "Big Papa" Stoppelman respond here).

Wallpaper's Throw Back to the 90's

Music from Wallpaper can now be attributed to songs inspired by avocados, Daly City, pesto chicken sandwiches served by Gloria of Nordstrom Cafe at Stonestown, and humping.

Music for Animals Sexes Up Noise Pop Happy Hour

At first, Noise Pop Happy Hour at Benders Bar and Grill on Saturday felt like an indie rock version of an antique sale. The aging of the 90s Pacific Northwest-SubPop Records-heyday set was evident. The opening acts (the aptly named Aim Low Kid and Audio Out Send) struggled through poor sound on a tiny stage. The lead singer of Aim Low Kid pointed to a crowd member and said that Starbucks and Pabst Blue Ribbon was a dangerous combo. It used to be heroin-chic and meth. Now it’s Starbucks and PBR.

Ra Ra Riot Rock the Independent

The Syracuse band Ra Ra Riot has always been tough to categorize. No matter what you call them (champer pop, orchestral crooners, shoe-gazing mods), their sound has a way of evoking a range of past hitmakers from Pat Benatar or Talk Talk to Belle and Sebastian or Joy Division. At the band’s sold-out show at the Independent last night, ever-earnest lead singer Wes Miles made sure to let the crowd know that he loved San Francisco and the crowd let the band know that San Francisco reciprocated.

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