Stefanie Hodapp, lead vocals of Young Prisms, performs at Noise Pop

I decided to break out of the Mission last night to check out the Noise Pop Festival. At an eclectic show at the Independent, I discovered that less band members can sometimes do more for the music.

Seventeen Evergreen, a local live electronic psychedelic rock duo, was the first to move the crowd – then just trickling into the spacious dance floor usually fragmented by tables. The band started off dark and heavy with deep electronic drumbeats and drones. But they eventually progressed into effervescent pop electronica reminiscent of Boards of Canada.

The stage lighting at the Independent – one of the best in the city – put the audience into a trance, broken when the bands ended on an abrupt note.

By the time the second band, Big Light, took the stage just after 10 p.m, bodies swarmed the venue.

The five-piece band played a set of sappy teenage indie rock n’ roll. I wondered about their target audience, however the 21-plus crowd caught the jive.

Sure, the band fit the psychedelic theme of the lineup, but the jam sessions were too indulgent, too frequent, and not interesting enough to compensate bland music. They just seemed to only serve the pleasure of the band. I didn’t get it. Nevertheless, the set dragged on for what appeared to be the most popular hour of the night.

Next, Young Prisms played a delightfully noisy and robust set for missing a band member. Young Prisms are one of the few bands keeping alive the 1980s sub-genre of alternative rock, shoegaze, that relies heavily on effect pedals for its “wall of sound.” They never fail to simulate nostalgia for youth but in the least melodramatic way. Last night, their dreamy noise pop, distorted bass, and understated female vocals made the world seem big, wondrous and beautiful. If My Bloody Valentine increased its tremolo and tempo and were considered a garage band, they would’ve been called Young Prisms.

The band has come a long way since they first moved to San Francisco in the late 2000s, when the Mission residents started out playing house parties and dives.  Numerous singles later, the band landed gigs at concert halls throughout the country. The band has definitely found its aggressive pop sound.

One full-length album and one international tour later, the band  lost a guitarist, but doesn’t plan to replace him. Live, guitarist Matt Allen accommodated for the absent parts and Gio Batteo backed him with growling bass.

At the end of the set, one-by-one the band left the stage, leaving a trail of feedback for Independent technicians to turn off.

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