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SF Popfest 2011 Slumberland Showcase & free Hotel Utah show

Today is technically the last day of SF Popfest 2011, but there will be a couple more shows this week. We drove up on Friday night and arrived early Saturday morning to catch the Slumberland Records showcase: many great bands, most of which I hadn’t heard of before. Still, it’s nice to discover good new music. We only saw 7 of the 10 bands who played last night, but it was still worth the time and cost of getting there – even in the rain. The bands we saw were (in order):

English Singles – cool Sacramento band with a nice sound, guess indie pop is alive and well in the state capital
Kids on a Crime Spree – a cool Oakland band who I enjoyed a lot, their album was only $8 at the merch table
Sea Lions – I liked their name and their sound, but I think my brother said the singer’s voice was too monotone
Terry Malts – really good and energetic punky pop – more in the style of the Ramones than today’s popular punk pop
Brilliant Colors – a bands my brother mentioned he wanted to see, a cool band who are similar to the Vivian Girls in sound
The Art Museums – another band my brother mentioned was good, but was actually a little disappointed by seeing again
Devon Williams – very unique voice with nice sparkly sounding pop hooks, I think his voice sounds a bit different on record

We were a little hesitant about attending today’s free show at Hotel Utah because we were all a bit distracted by other things. Fortunately, we did end up going and saw a couple cool bands playing acoustic and unplugged: The Motifs (from Australia) and Let’s Whisper (members of Bay Area band The Smittens). The singer of the Lucksmiths was scheduled to play along with some other bands, but he couldn’t make it due to some volcanic ash near London which delayed his flight. He’s actually still playing on Tuesday night at Hotel Utah with The Smittens (who are regular performers at SF Popfest – which has become an annual event).

The Motifs were entertaining in their brief interactions with the audience and their songs were nice and poppy. They kept mentioning having to catch a flight after their performance, so their set was a pretty short (maybe a little over 20 minutes). It was nice to hear a nice acoustic indie pop show. The audience was fully quiet for both performances, though the bar people were yelling out orders for people every so often. It was a nice thing to see an audience of music lovers really appreciating the music even if it was a free show (with a suggested $2 donation).

One of the organizers of the event even sat down to explain who would be playing and why Mark of the Lucksmiths wouldn’t be there. It was nice to see them taking the time to talk to people about the show before hand, just to explain what was going on. Let’s Whisper played a little bit longer than the Motifs, but were completely unplugged, so the audience was even quieter to allow them to play completely acoustic. They have some very cute and funny songs that made it worth listening closely to the lyrics.

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