Gig Recap: JiMaoXin, YongShiZhe (Hangzhou 2021.9.20)

Jimaoxin 鸡毛信, YongShiZhe 永湿者 – LOOPY Live 2021.09.20

Popped over to Loopy to help them celebrate their 5th birthday and more importantly, the unveiling of their new live stage – situated on the often forgotten about second floor of loopy. Hanging over the corridor that leads into the bar and club entrance, it’s modest, efficient and slick – fitting around 100 people tops and outfitted with a nice sound system (the first time I wasn’t forced to wear earplugs in some time) and some apt silhouette lighting courtesy of both its minimal light fixture and the blooming fluorescent lights outside in the corridor. Simply put, it’s exactly the kind of mid-size venue first and second-tier cities across China desperately need more of. The fact that it’s situated directly above Hangzhou’s finest electronic club and a Soju bottle’s throw away from Mao Livehouse is the icing on the cake. 

The real treat came in the form of the two acts that evening. It’s not often I go into a gig completely unaware of what I’m about to see. And not for lack of trying – what scant info I could drudge up simply left too much to the imagination. So when I heard the Jimaoxin 鸡毛信 kicking off from below, little did I know I was gonna step into perhaps my favorite live act of the year. 

Leaning into the cosmic and jazz-heavy end of the psychedelic genre – with an almost irrelevant madcap edge to their formation – JiMaoXin 鸡毛信 are essentially a multi-faceted jam band who got bored of being likely lounge room mercenaries and started honing their skills into something more orchestrated, sonically ambiguous, and indefinitely more fun. It’s loose one moment – with songs that kick off with meandering ramshackle interludes or dueling instruments – and then a moment later clicks into place, with every jumping in on the groove you didn’t even realize was lurking beneath. Its quirks and instrumental intricacies barely disguising the melodic pop sensibilities that makes one wonder if Jimaoxin could have been a hit Japanese band from the late 70s (echoes of everything from Radiohead to Kikagaku Moyo to the Beatles).  Yeah – it was a wavelength that I fell right in line with – and combined with the element of surprise – has rendered their set one of my favorites of the year. 

While YongShiZhe 永湿者 didn’t quite reach the high that was 鸡毛信, something was appealing, comforting even, about ending the night with an experimental noise set – particularly one that did not pander to anyone. Just pure, harmonious dissonance from a two women who traversed from ambient-soaked drones to prickly violin meltdowns to straight-up noise, with the two using everything at their disposal to create sonic tension (and relieve listeners of their own tension). A full spread of textures and sounds – a meal that felt very much in line with the psychedelic undertones of the evening and offered the perfect comedown from my all too brief stint in Hangzhou. 

1 Comment

  1. I just heard a Jimaoxin track on the latest mixtape (347) and want to hear some more. Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction?
    Thanks in advance

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