2021 Post-Shanghai 摇滚祭: An Corporation, Appendix, Nameus, Conch 尼浊累 (Yuyintang Park 育音堂音乐公园 2021.01.30)
Two nights in a row at Yuyintang Park is definitely pushing it – but you spend long enough in a city, eventually, you’ll need to check out its post rock scene. Truth is post rock is a big thing in China and Shanghai is no exception. But what’s really interesting is how the idea of what post-rock is has been shifting over the past decade, pulling in outside influencers and subverting everything we thought we knew about the genre. Which is to say, Saturday night held plenty of surprises.
The evening kicked off with a set from newly formed An Corporation, a four-piece instrumental rock group that’s doing anything but the ordinary. Utilizing guitar, drums, violin, and a two-string bass, which gives a dombra-esque sound to the arrangements while at the same time allowing the high pitches to come through loud and clear. In many ways, the band is exploring something more jagged, more Middle Eastern baroque, and more psychedelic. I haven’t quite put my finger on it – all I know is I can’t wait to see these cats again.
Forming in 2016, Appendix have a bit more oomph to their crescendoing post rock sound that’s anything but light and more in the vein of Godspeed. Supposedly their first show in two years, the band brought did not hold back (despite performing for less than a half-hour) laying into their instruments and allowing the arrangements to swell with momentum and potency – evening bringing two violins on stage at one point to bring it home.
Meanwhile, Nameus, another Shanghai post rock mainstay, falls more in line with what most folks expect when they hear the term post rock. Lush, meandering at times, full of tremolo picking and tempo changes, it’s cinematic. Though for better or worse, it’s not afraid to take its time getting there. They were perhaps the most refined out of the lineup tonight, injecting their music with a bittersweet melancholy that’s above all earnest.
And finally, in case audiences were getting too comfortable with the soaring soundscapes the evening had provided us with thus far, Conch comes in and throws it all to hell with a gloriously ravenous set. Sludge metal that’s akin to dragging one across cement, there’s something visceral about the way the band goes about their sound, allowing the grooves to stretch out over time, slowly putting you in a state of terror, before ratcheting up the tension one little by little. Meticulous in its contraption, and hypnotic in its allure – a devilishly good time.