We've always thought of indie rock as being perfectly matched with cheap beer, rotgut whisky, and hangover-inducing vodka. And certainly, you'll find a lot of two-buck Chuck in the places where musicians live. But now, you can have a nice merlot or cabernet alongside your feedback, distortion, and shoegazing, thanks to a recently-announced venture between Noise Pop and Karl Wente, the fifth-generation winemaker behind Livermore's Wente Vineyards. Starting with tonight's show by the Mountain Goats, Wente is pairing wines with bands: for the Mountain Goats, it's the Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (red) and the Louis MelSauvingon Blanc (white); for Mark Eitzel, try the Morning Fog Chardonnay; and for Donovan Quinn, how about the Sandstone Merlot?
While the partnership obviously lends alternative credibility and cultural cachet to Wente, it's unclear what it means to Noise Pop artists and the festival's target audience, besides being served at N-Pop's industry mixers and open-bar VIP events. This seems like a dubious shenanigan which, if anything, shows how indie rock festivals have become prey for corporate culture-vultures. With this in mind, we're suggesting our own pairings: David Dondero: one bourbon, one scotch, one beer; Kool Keith: rocket fuel, straight up; Bob Mould: a heroin balloon and a Diet Coke; Antony and the Johnsons: an estrogen-and-gin cocktail; Goblin Cock: Listerine on the rocks; The Matches: lighter fluid in a martini glass.