Noisepop cracks up: trading jibes with Patton Oswalt

Pub date February 28, 2007
WriterK. Tighe
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

Our little bundle of noise is almost all grown up. Damning the brooding tradition of adolescence, Noise Pop has learned to laugh at itself — and anything that involves swigging beer and heckling Patton Oswalt without a two-drink minimum sounds like pure fucking genius to me. I recently spoke to Oswalt on the phone from Burbank. After soaking in enough indie to keep you cloaked in scene points until next year, you may want to check out his act alongside fellow comedians Brian Posehn and Marian Bamford. (K. Tighe)

SFBG You’ve been gigging at indie rock venues for a while — and now you are getting booked at festivals such as Noise Pop and Coachella. A lot of bands must be pissed off at you.

PATTON OSWALT Getting invited to these things is really flattering, but my rider’s still simple. As long as there is old scotch, I’m fine.

SFBG Have you ever been to the Noise Pop festival?

PO No, but I’m really excited. I’ve only ever listened to Genesis, so I’m hoping to discover new stuff.

SFBG You used to live in San Francisco. Are there any old haunts you still frequent when you play here?

PO I have about 10 old haunts. They are all Starbucks now.

SFBG El Farolito or Cancun?

PO La Cumbre all the way. They are mighty, mighty, mighty, and they’ve never fallen.

SFBG Your San Francisco act is always incredibly liberal — how much do you need to alter your political material from city to city?

PO I don’t have a tailored act. I trust the audiences to rise to the occasion. There are more and more pockets of resistance everywhere. Besides, the things I say aren’t all that outrageous compared to what is actually going on.

SFBG Any early thoughts on the 2008 presidential race?

PO I’m saying it now: the Democratic ticket will be Mickey Rourke and the original lineup of Journey.


Sun/4, 5:30 and 8:30 p.m., $24


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421


FEB. 28


At a recent gig in Seattle, Damien Jurado recounted an interview with a French journalist who had asked him if folk music was the new grunge. The singer-songwriter dismissed the question, but it was clear he was as comfortable cracking wise as he is creating the bleak portraits and doleful characters that inhabit his songs. Jurado’s latest release is not new but a reissue of Gathered in Song (Made in Mexico), which was originally put to tape in 1999 by friend and fellow plaintive songwriter David Bazan. Three months older though still freshly minted is And Now That I’m in Your Shadow (Secretly Canadian), a milestone recording with Jurado’s first permanent band, including cellist Jenna Conrad and percussionist-guitarist Eric Fisher. Here the trio essays the same lyrical and windswept landscapes that dominate Jurado’s discography, though gone are the upbeat pop numbers that have peppered past albums. The result is at once tender and forlorn. John Vanderslice headlines; the Submarines and Black Fiction also perform. (Nathan Baker)

8 p.m. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF. $14. (415) 771-1421



Despite critical acclaim for their latest album, Lonely Road Revival (Alive), Trainwreck Riders remain as down-home as their sound. Proof the San Francisco boys haven’t gone Hollywood yet: vocalist Andrew Kerwin still works at Amoeba in the city, and the band recently got arrested and Tasered by Houston police at a show with former labelmates Two Gallants. Songs such as "In and Out of Love" combine roots rock, punk, and country that sound familiar, retro, and refreshing all at once. The harmonica in "Christmas Time Blues" makes me want to flee to my favorite dive bar to sulk, even on a good day. (Elaine Santore)

9 p.m. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF. $12. (415) 861-2011



If ever there were a diamond in the indie rock rough, it is David Dondero. National Public Radio named him one of the 10 best living songwriters, but he still tours in his truck and has probably served you pints at Casanova. Nick Drake may have lamented that "fame is but a fruit tree," but he checked out long before his notoriety took root and grew. Dondero, on the other hand, has worked for years in relative obscurity. His latest effort, South of the South (Team Love), was bankrolled by Conor Oberst, an overdue invitation to the feast from a man who freely admits to copping Dondero’s style. Jolie Holland headlines; St. Vincent opens. (Baker)

9 p.m. Fillmore, 1805 Geary, SF. $20. (415) 346-6000


Naming your band is one of the early hurdles for any would-be rock star. Ted Leo and his mates had a stroke of genius the day they alighted on the Pharmacists, arguably trumping even the Beatles for best tongue-in-cheek rock ‘n’ roll pun. Not that ingenuity is lacking in this outfit, which packs as much fevered punk energy into a four-minute tune as a mitochondrion does into a cell. For those who slept through freshman biology, that’s the part of a cell that, among other things, processes adrenaline. And anyone who has ever attended a Leo show is all too familiar with this chemical. (Baker)

8 p.m. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF. $18. (415) 885-0750



The genre-bending Sacramento band known for funky arrangements, monotone vocals, droll lyrics, and a whole set of cabaret, country, and soul cover songs (including Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive" and Black Sabbath’s "War Pigs") finishes Noise Pop with characteristic verve and vibraslap. This indie-turned-mainstream-turned-indie quartet has gotten increasingly political in recent years — check out the band’s Web site ( if you want to see what I mean — so expect some social commentary with your catchy ditties. It’s also worth showing up for the textured pop sound and cheeky lyrics of opening band the Boticcellis; Money Mark and Scrabbel also perform. (Molly Freedenberg)

7:30 p.m. Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus, SF. $25. (415) 474-0365