SAN FRANCISCO — San Fernando Valley’s Slow Hollows had been described as “subdued” over the years, bassist Aaron Jassenoff said at their Noise Pop concert at Cafe Du Nord on Saturday, but they were far from on Saturday night in their final Bay Area show after announcing that their current tour would be their last.
As Slow Hollows began their opening song, the below-ground bar immediately became one massive mosh pit, with the band feeding off that energy.
“The Art School Kids,” off 2015’s Atelophobia, was even punchier live. The song had fresh, driving beats and catchy hooks. Drummer Jackson Katz provided pulsating and heavy percussion to maintain the frenetic pace. Live, Slow Hollows added an experimental math-rock element to the track with some off-kilter guitar sequences. At times throughout the show, the quartet would get lost in these moments.
“Blood,” off 2019 album Actors (the band’s last), featured beautiful harmonization. The catchy singalong showed off Slow Hollows’ harmonization abilities. “Two Seasons” brought a slower, melodic tone and pace. Jassenoff noted that during the song there was a “slow mosh pit.”
“This is the best mosh pit we’ve ever had,” he said.
Jassenoff handled frontman duties, speaking with fans between songs, cracking funny and not-so-funny jokes, and mugging for the cameras.
“A fun fact about SF: “We’re here right now,” he said.
Lead vocalist Austin Anderson sang strongly on melodic anthem “Okay,” which built atop harmonizing guitars that came together to create some tight riffs. “Get Along” showcased Daniel Fox’s retro keyboard playing. The real beauty of the song was the haunting three-part harmony between everyone but Katz.
The drummer’s throbbing percussion on “Actress” kicked the show into overdrive. The song seemed to speed up as it went on, while crowd-surfing, stage-diving and an even larger mosh pit added to the ambiance. “I’m Just As Bad As You Are” ended with a frenzied post-punk jam, led by Jassenoff’s tight bass riffs.
The band came back for an encore and did not disappoint with a punched-up cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “Us vs Them.” The song was a perfect punk tribute and a great way to end their last show.
Colombian-born, Los Angeles-based artist Andrea Silva, who performs as Loyal Lobos, preceded the headliners. She and a second guitarist created a beautiful mix of haunting and psychedelic melodic noise.
Silva’s set consisted of unreleased songs from a forthcoming project. They were reminiscent of Mazzy Star; dreamy and ambient, with high vocals that soared through the room. Loyal Lobos talked about the difficulties in communicating in English, which she followed by playing her song “Papel” in Spanish.
The emotional “Criminals,” meanwhile, was highlighted by it’s lo-fi arrangement: one voice, one guitar and a tambourine. The Cocteau Twins-esque tune effectively communicated a vulnerability. Loyal Lobos concluded with a cover of famous Argentine folk singer-songwriter Mercedes Sosa’s 1969 song “Alfonsina y El Mar,” about a poet who killed herself in the sea.
Oakland’s Small Crush opened the show. The band, which drew many young local fans to the show, practically demanded non-stop moshing during its set—and the fans obliged. The pop band recalled the sound of Frankie Cosmos, with sugary sweet vocals by Logan Hammon. The songs were short, which allowed Small Crush to crush through many of them.
“Signal Dreams” had fans chanting along word-for-word. The quartet’s infectious, bouncy music was lighthearted and fun.
A cover of the Cardigans’ “Lovefool” turned the entire dance floor into a sea of bodies. Things got crazier from their with two minutes of frenzy during “Chicken Noodle.” The band ended the set with “Transparency,” a down-tempo tune that served as a come-down from he rest of the performance but one that featured an unexpected tight guitar jam.