NoSo, Squirrel Flower, and Maria BC put on a bone-chilling and ethereal performance that could only be described as a haunting, warm musical experience where the audience more closely resembled swaying kelp than the typical moshing and frantic imagery associated with indie pop or rock concerts.
I hadn’t heard of Maria BC or Squirrel Flower before the show, but I have become a massive fan of both from watching this performance. The Rickshaw Stop was the perfect venue for their music as the venue welcomes itself to the kind of intimate performances their songs cultivate and thrive in. This show was part of the Noise Pop Festival which is currently going on all over San Francisco through Feb 26.
Maria BC had an unassuming stage presence that grew into a performance reminiscent of Duster in a post-pop ethereal performance that could best be described as the feeling of the quiet right before a storm. The music was very calm and the audience was swaying at most or sitting throughout most of the show, but their performance made each person feel like there was no one in the room but Maria and themself.
Ella Williams, who performs under the name Squirrel Flower makes self-described witch rock, which feels like a very apt description. Each song felt reminiscent of an incantation and put a spell over the audience. Her music felt comparable to Florence and the Machine, if it were more spooky and haunting. The entire show made up for what it was lacking in energy with some of the most gorgeous music and haunting melodies I’ve heard live. She seemed to be one of the sweetest people I’ve seen on stage in her banter with the crowd while she was solving a problem with the amp. The set was a stripped down one, and so she played more of her acoustic tunes from her album Early Winter Songs from Middle America, which have since made their way to my playlists.
When Baek Kwong, known on stage as NoSo, finally took the stage, I was expecting to fall asleep after the two prior acts had nearly lulled me to sleep. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the most infectiously boppy music I had heard all night. Kwong had a good mix of sad ballads and more up-tempo songs that had the entire crowd bouncing. His performance was incredible and they have been fully embracing their place as a trans icon in music and I am so excited for what they have to come. The show was fairly low energy but it was hard to avoid the bouncy nature of their debut album, Stay Proud of Me, which most of the songs that he played were from.
All of the artists put on incredible performances and I am excited to see where their careers take them.