Indie rock got dirt kicked in its face at Noise Pop's very first show at Bender's yesterday afternoon. As cold, cheap beer flowed through the veins of black leather-clad, headbanging audience members, local psych rock quartet Harderships took the small stage as soon as the clock struck 5 o'clock. Oh, and Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson were there.
Appealing to the raging 15-year-old Led Zeppelin fanboy inside each and every one of us, their bluesy, downright nasty, bass-driven grooves sounded exactly like the dusty vinyl gems you'd find buried deep inside your parents record collection. Each jam, punctuated by the vocalist's Ted Nugent scream, kept all ears switched on as songs like the ten-minute "Harderships Theme" and "Arctic Mole" raged through freewheeling Jimmy Page's guitar solos and turned on a dime into soft, layered meanderings. All that was missing was a drum solo.
Rounding out the night was Dio-inspired metal maniacs Hot Fog, a foursome of unhinged shredders hellbent on playing as fast as possible and saying the most absurd things into the microphone they could think of. "I think we and The Decemberists are the only two bands in the world who write songs about nautical warfare," they declared after one of their fantastical odes, "To The Helm" to medieval times. Switching between the duelling axe sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and early Metallica-esque thrash riffs, all that was missing were some epic pyrotechnics. This city's begging for an injection of badass metal to balance out the heady influx of indie noiseniks, and Hot Fog's penchant for speed and goofball irreverence may be enough to light the match.