Gig Recap: Hai Qing (Yue Space 2017.01.11)

Looking to stretch my boundaries a bit this new year, I set out last week to catch the Shanghai based Inner Mongolian artist Hai Qing, whose sprawling, avant-garde soaked Mongolian prog rock made his debut album entitled The Flesh one of my favorites of 2017. And am I ever glad. The guitarist and singer, backed by a mammoth of a band, which included guitarist Li Xing (of renowned noise trio Red Scarf), drummer Deng Boyu (of Wu Tiao Ren), Lao Dan (on flute, sax, and a freaking didgeridoo), bassist Du Ping, and Zhang Meng on trombone and sheng (a Chinese mouth-blown free reed instrument consisting of vertical pipes and one of the oldest Chinese instruments), charged through track after track, deliriously evoking King Crimson prog rock, Captain Beefheart freakouts, Jethro Tull flute mania, with the more mannered folk music of the Mongolian grasslands. While the aspirations and influences sometimes didn’t meld together as fluidly as they could, it more often than not did, and the results were a spirited highly innovative mix of styles and cultures that was a breathe of fresh air in this musical landscape. And the perfect start to another year of live music.

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