Though it leans much heavier on the pop than the noise — still no Merzbow this year! — S.F.’s annual festival of all things music and music-related celebrates the quarter-century mark with a slate of interesting films playing at the Roxie Theater, Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater, the Artists’ Television Access, and the Swedish American Hall. The opening night film, Hired Gun, is of the “people you’ve heard but never heard of” genre exemplified by Twenty Feet from Stardom and The Wrecking Crew, this time focusing on the not-famous session and touring musicians who played with megastars from the late 1970s onward. It’s primarily about hard rock and heavy metal, so while it’s overwhelmingly about White men in black T-shirts, at least it’s Generation X nostalgia rather than Boomer nostalgia, meaning no recent rock-doc fixture Danny Fields. Also Fields-free is the more Boomer-oriented (but also more pleasant) Ticket to Write, which reminisces about the heyday of rock magazines such as Creem, Crawdaddy, and Trouser Press.
Meanwhile, The Art of Listening purports to look at the science behind the recorded music, and while it spends perhaps a bit too much time on guys with acoustic guitars, the ambient score by Christopher Willits of the sadly dormant drone duo Stars of the Lid is worth the price of admission.
Noise Pop 25, Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater, Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater, the Artists’ Television Access, and the Swedish American Hall.