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Noise Pop’s 20th Street Block Party is a hyper-local tribute to independent art

Attendees of Noise Pop's 20th Street Block Party dance in the street. | Photo by Chris Kocher/Courtesy of Noise Pop Industries

Closing out the summer 2022 festival season, Bay Area musicians, chefs and artists will take over two blocks of Valencia Street this Saturday for Noise Pop’s 20th Street Block Party.

Reflecting Noise Pop’s seasoned reputation as the oldest locally operated indie promoter in San Francisco, the musical lineup features all Bay Area artists. Punk trio Destroy Boys, alt-rockers Hot Flash Heat Wave, soul genre-benders The Seshen, emo trap star Ricky Lake, lo-fi Latin songwriter MARINERO, folk harmonizers Sour Widows, spank rockers Juicebumps and jangle pop outfit The Umbrellas all take the stage at the free, all-ages festival.    

“Noise Pop is still hyper-localized,” senior talent buyer James Lopez said. “We love the Bay Area so much.” 

This year, Noise Pop relocated the celebration in front of their new Valencia Street offices. Similar to Stern Grove’s 2022 concert series, organizers added an optional RSVP system to give them an idea of how many people will attend.

Headlining the block party are Destroy Boys, a high school experiment-turned-staple of the local DIY punk scene. Lead singer Alexia Roditis and guitarist Violet Mayugba met as high school students in Sacramento. Mayugba was into punk music; Roditis was not. But after hearing Roditis sing, Mayugba convinced them to join her band. Narsai Malik picked up the drum sticks to back Roditis and Mayugba around the same time. The trio moved to Oakland to attend Mills College and have called the East Bay home ever since.

Destroy Boys | Courtesy Photo

Mayugba told The Standard that her band’s songwriting style is highly collaborative and personal. “To be honest, the lyrics are very vulnerable, but we like to think they have multiple meanings,” she said. On “Piedmont,” for instance, the chorus references the name of their 2018 album, Make Room, which obliquely nods to the songwriter’s experiences with dissociation.

Making room is, in fact, one of Destroy Boys’ guiding tenets. The band makes clear that they want trans, nonbinary and femme individuals to feel safe and seen, especially in the mosh pit—a place that cisgender males have historically dominated at punk and heavy metal shows.  

Headlining a Noise Pop event is a particularly big milestone for Destroy Boys, four years after they won a contest to play a Noise Pop happy hour set at Bender’s Bar & Grill. Underage at the time, Mayugba remembers she wasn’t allowed to stay for any of the other bands. She said that seeing their name at the top of this weekend’s lineup is a full-circle moment for the group. “Noise Pop is definitely an institution of San Francisco,” Mayugba said. “Closing the block party is a huge honor.” 

The block party will showcase even more East Bay talent with Ricky Lake, who records right around the corner from Noise Pop HQ at Different Fur Studios. The Oakland rapper originally hails from Los Angeles but considers the performers and producers at the SF indie pop factory Text Me Records to be his found family. Block partiers are in for an emo and pop punk-infused R&B set influenced in equal measure by N.E.R.D. and Blink-182.

The lineup also features Latin sampladelic songwriter MARINERO, who grew up in the Mission. His latest album, 2021’s Hella Love, paid tribute to the neighborhood and the 1960s and ’70s international composers who were in heavy rotation throughout his childhood. “He puts it on for his community,” Lopez said. 

MARINERO | Courtesy Photo

Like any community-minded get-together, the block party also has a mutual aid component, raising funds for Mission-based nonprofits 826 Valencia and La Cocina. The culinary incubator, which supports immigrant female chefs, is also Noise Pop’s food partner for the festival. Eight of the 10 vendors are La Cocina entrepreneurs. 

“Eating their food is like getting a home-cooked meal,” said Tanya Kollar, food curator for the block party. “Anyone who’s walked through the Mission can see the wide variety of ethnic offerings, and the festival is going to embody the spirit of the food scene here.” 

Oaxacan chef Rosa Martinez will serve tlayuda and empanadas from her nearby eatery Origen. “Rosa grew up cooking her food over a live fire,” Kollar said.

La Cocina’s entrepreneurs will be joined by Mission scoop shop Humphry Slocombe and bao leader The Chairman. Hangar 1 Distillery, Kona Brewing, Just Enough Wines and others will pour libations.

Get sense of what to expect at this year's show by listening to the playlist below.

Noise Pop’s 20th Street Block Party 

Valencia Street between 18th and 20th streets
Saturday, Oct. 15, 12 - 6 p.m.