Gig Recap: Kenja Time, Nouvelle, Naohai, JieChi (2021.07.09)

Naohai 闹海, Nouvelle, Kenja Time, JieChi 戒尺 – Yuyintang 育音堂 2021.07.09

Maybe Mars – the long-standing indie label that helped put the Chinese rock scene on the map over a decade back with their roster of reverb-heavy sound, brought out their newest roster last Friday for show and tell. And from the sound of it’s quite the crop. 

Things kicked off with a set from young post punk outfit JieChi, who despite not having a drummer for the last month, set the course for the evening, offering a hot-blooded set full of the band’s twisted theatrically and jagged musicianship that’s rightfully rough around the edges. Will be a shame to lose them as their singer heads abroad for studies, but Shanghai will be waiting for you cats. 

It was my first time catching Beijing based band Kenja Time – and I really had no idea what to expect (not a single song online despite their debut right around the corner). But damn they knocked it’s out of the park – leaning into the softer tones of post punk that came off like a younger version of PK14 – yet with an intrepid almost post rock throughline that wrangles some truly titillating chord progressions that twist your ears into a knot of amusement. Come back soon. 

The always reliable Naohai didn’t let up one iota – ratcheting up the noise and laying into their instruments with aplomb. Tighter, louder and packing much more of a punch than usual, it seems the band is shifting into higher gears and I couldn’t be happier. 

The night ended with Nouvelle, out of Guangzhou, bringing their high-pitched noise rock that sways between cathartic emo rock and reverb-heavy indie pop without even losing its crackle. Not exactly on the same wavelength as the rest of the night, and I’m not sure how well they fit as a closing act, but I’m all for it. 

All in all, a nice grab bag of the emerging talent in the indie world and proof there’s plenty of gas left in Maybe Mars creative tank.

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