By Mia Duisenberg
If you are at all into country or folk music you are going to want to read this, but if you are too lazy to read, simply go listen to Ian Noe on Apple music or Spotify or whatever you use these days.
This past Monday, the 2nd of May, my boyfriend and I headed up the coast to see Ian Noe at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Noe is a relatively new country artist whose first EP came out in 2017, and Brick & Mortar Music Hall is your typical dark and uncharismatic bar that features a quaint stage in the left of the venue. The show started at 8 pm and after finding a free parking spot right in front-because of my wonderful karma-we scrambled inside and found some wobbly stools to sit on, just in time for the opener to start.
If I remember correctly the opener’s name was Christopher Danzig and he played a short set consisting of originals- definitely written during some of that Coronavirus depression- and a couple covers, one in particular being California by Tom Petty. His singer/songwriter style was a nice precursor to what was to come.
The crowd had thickened up at this point and we decided to leave our wobbly bar stools and stand up in front to get the best experience.
Finally Ian and his band came out on stage, and without a word, started playing “Letter to Madeline,” a song of love and war from his first LP “Between the Country. With Noe on acoustic guitar and his 3 bandmates on drums, bass, pedal steel and electric guitar, the song was a strong start to the show. Unfortunately, when they reached the chorus, his mic cut out and they had to stop playing. Noe walked off the stage and said “Call me back when that gets figured out,” which may have seemed rude to others, but I thought it was funny and hey we love a diva. The issue was quickly fixed and the band started from the top, with a sarcastic comment on how that was a perfect start to a show in 2022.
Noe started out with some of his most popular songs from his 2019 LP to get the crowd’s attention, but eventually got into a mixture of both that album and his new album “River Fools & Mountain Saints” which came out in March of 2022. He played a couple solo songs in the middle of his set, but had that band come back for the end.
Throughout the show, there was no break in my swaying, stomping, and screaming of lyrics into my mask. Noe’s voice left me even more mesmerized than when I blast him in my headphones, and I was very pleased. The full echo of the whole band; crashing drums, heartbeat bass, siren pedal steel guitar and his deeply saddening lyrics, had me wanting to be the only one in the room and laying on my back with my eyes closed. But I also had to stare at him, because of the anger and sadness in his face, accentuating the wrinkle between his eyebrows. I think most everyone in the crowd felt the same way, and one man in the front with long hair and an SF Giants hat spoke for us all when he started crying during one of the last songs.
Needless to say, I would go see him play again in a heartbeat, and I was so lucky to see his show in such a small venue with such an enthusiastic crowd.