I did Popscene last night, as I do every Thursday when I’m in town. It’s a great gig — somewhat unique, great energy.
Essentially, Popscene is an indie-rock / new wave DJ dance night with a featured band (or sometimes two, like last night for example). It’s put on by Aaron Axelsen, who is the Music Director for Live105 and a tireless champion of new music. Aaron has great taste. Or, at least, his taste and mine seem to be very compatible — I consistently love the bands he finds to bring in, which is why I like this gig so much. No matter what else happens during the week, I can be assured that I’ll get to mix at least one band that I really enjoy.
The evening is 18+, and the crowd skews young — the median age is probably around 23. As soon as the band hits the stage, regardless of who the band is, the crowd crushes the front and goes nuts for them. It’s very un-San Francisco — people dancing and yelling and showing a huge degree of enthusiasm. Usually, in this city, people show their appreciation for a band by not leaving. It’s not a local audience generally given to emotive displays of trancendental abandon. Particularly given how young and hipster-ish the Popscene crowd is, they behave in a remarkably non-hipsterish fashion. It’s surprising, and refreshing, and it’s exciting for the bands. Like I said, it’s a great gig.
Last night’s bands were the magic numbers and the Webb Brothers. The former is a pair of siblings from England. Apparently they’re huge there, but haven’t broken here yet. I would imagine they’ll be at least indie-big within six months. Their songs are beautifully crafted, laced with intertwining harmonies and gripping poignancy, and they perform the hell out of them. “Gorgeous” and “captivating” are descriptions that spring to mind.
The Webb Brothers are three of Jimmy Webb’s sons (maybe all three — I’m not as informed as I could be on Jimmy Webb’s family), plus a non-related rhythm section. They spent some time recently touring the UK with the magic numbers, and this was their last show together — they were visibly moved. It was touching and genuine.
All around, this was a great night of music, put on by a bunch of really nice people. You can’t really ask for a lot more than that :-)