Grub Street broke the news this week of a one-day food and music fest coming this August, based on a similar event last summer in New York and organized in part by Noise Pop. It's called Noisette, and for the early-bird price of $50, you'll get to hear some bands, hang out at Speakeasy Brewery in the Bayview, and eat some vittles from hip chefs like Dennis Lee (Namu Gaji), Jason Fox (Commonwealth), and Ian Marks (Beast & the Hare). This prompted SF Weekly music writer Ian S. Port to pen a screed about how foodie-ism and "the pork-belly party" (as he puts it, even though pork belly is finally pretty well over if you ask us) are somehow responsible for him not being able to go to an underground show and pay $5 to listen to "something freaky" anymore. What?
In general he seems frustrated, as most everyone is, with how expensive rents now are in San Francisco, and he points to the high rents likely pushing the cool kids and artists out to Oakland. But we don't really get how adding food to music festivals is somehow indicative of the death of the fast, cheap, and underground in the S.F. music scene. He points to the closings of The Eagle and Kimo's as partial evidence, and the price tag of Noisette too.
But while there's nothing wrong with good food and music pairings on their own, it's hard not to see these new music events [like Noisette and Outside Lands] as mirrors of the broader social and economic trends of San Francisco. And those trends seem far more likely to dry out the city's musical culture than enrich it.
We think Mr. Port may have missed the fact that these trends exist far beyond our city's borders. Brooklyn is as foodie a place as ever, where the young folks would rather go to a pickling class than a punk show these days. The New York Times just covered the "food is the new rock" angle two weeks ago, and in a piece last year about underground farmers' markets, they quoted Oakland urban homesteader Novella Carpenter last year saying, "When I was their age I was doing drugs and going to rock shows. Their culture is food incredible yummy-tasting food."
Yes, we agree it's sad that Kimo's, a haven of punk rock and metal, has been replaced by a polished and sterile cocktail bar. But don't blame food culture, for god's sake. It's just giving the people what they want. The times they are a-changin', and on the bright side, at least the food is way better here than it was ten years ago.
When Pork Belly Replaces the Punk Club: Fears About the Future of Music in Affluent S.F. [SF Weekly]
Earlier: Namu Gaji, Flour + Water, Beast & Hare Join Up for Noisette Food and Music Festival
Pork Belly, Lobster, and, Yes, Music [NYT]
NYT: Kids These Days Choose Egg Rolls Over Ecstasy