Math Class 数学课 Vol.1: GriffO鬼否, Da Seven 大七乐团, Foster Parents (Yuyintang Park 育音堂音乐公园 2020.08.29)
Shanghai’s Foster Parents didn’t pop onto my radar till spring of 2017 – when their debut Grim found its way into my earbuds. It was love at first soundbite and I quickly scrambled to unravel the mystery behind the band – who the hell there were? Where did they come from? And how do I get them to Beijing? Cut to three months later, Jon and Gregor were heading up by train to perform at School Bar. They were modest, humble, and softhearted (they hold with a heavy heart the technical difficulties that challenged them during their set) – capturing a sound that’s bittersweet, genuine and devoid of pessimism.
That bittersweet feeling came to a head last Saturday as the duo said farewell to the scene as Gregor heads back West. Emotions were indeed high, but that didn’t keep the pair from delivering a fabulous set that even included a few nuggets off their yet to be released EP. Cheers Foster Parents for bringing your wicked math rock wonders into this world.
Luckily it wasn’t all heartbreak this evening as audiences were treated to two other math rock wranglers who approach the genre in distinctive ways – GriffO and Da Seven. Hangzhou’s GriffO takes the framework of math rock and propels it into the future with their kinetic, bubbly, and digitally imaginative sound, frantically (and sometimes a bit too frantically) blending elements of neo-jazz, sugar-coated indietronica, and kawaii punk – swirling it all together into fizzy cocktail. At times, their stage presence didn’t quite match their sound, but it didn’t matter much in the end as your ear were often already intrigued by the next turn of events.
I was more fascinated but the delightful Da Seven, who bring a jazz-flavoured almost free jazz (but clearly not) approach to math rock – turning what could have been mellow jams into elaborate off-kilter songs chock full of offbeat time signatures and robust musicality. Can’t wait to check them out again.