Gig Recap: Backspace, Run Run Run (2021.05.14)

Backspace 退格, Run Run Run @ Yuyintang 育音堂 2021.05.14

Was invigorating to return to the live Beijing music scene last Friday as I was able to check-in with old friends Backspace and Run Run Run. They’re both fresh off of new releases over the past half-year and are in the midst of a joint tour. Which makes sense based both on how much their music falls back on intrepid grooves subconsciously conjured in the band’s southern roots, as well as their sharing of drummer Maote, a hero for the ages.

Run Run Run promptly kicked off the gig at 830 sharp bringing with them their sun-baked psychedelic sound – a humid, beguiling tapestry of grooves, Beatnick-stylized poetry, and synth-infused psychosis. While the band’s free-wheeling living and breathing jams remain intricate yet direct in their pull, the addition of Zhao Kai on vocals and gadgetry – the former Bedstars frontman – and Xiao Wen – of Birdstriking – on analog synthesizer twists the bands mellowed-out arrangements and Krautrock aura into something both more dangerous and buoyant. Simply put – a hoot to get lost in.

Meanwhile, Backspace has elevated their game considerably since I last caught them a year ago – sweating profusely through their hour-long set with riled-up passion. Jumping through both their new LP Ants Corrupt Elephant, as well as old favorites (and a couple of new teases), with conviction and empathy. It’s the type of music that’s never aggressive even when their music threatens to spill into dissonance. In fact, it was great to see how easily they were able to wrap audiences up with their grooves – ones filled with wonder, urgency, and playful ingenuity. It’s not exactly an apt comparison, but there’s a bit of Talking Heads harmony in them – mainly in the way their music resides in a valley that’s above all inviting and elemental. But what do I know – I’m biased as fuck – Backspace fanboy for life here. 

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