Gig Recap: LiveChinaMusic presents Cold Snap (2020.12.19)

LiveChinaMusic presents Cold Snap 寒流: Salty Tomorrow 明天的盐, Pale Air淡色艾尔, Naohai 闹海 (NEO Bar 2020.12.19) 

There aren’t too many places like Neo Bar left in Shanghai. Nonchalant in its charm, scrappy in its demeanor, and sincere as all can be – it has the benefits of being a bar first and a venue second. Which is a crucial distinction – as it gives its nights of live music off-the-cuff vitality that you simply can’t get at larger scale venues located more likely than not in a mall complex. And most importantly it has acted as an incubator for an increasing amount of the rock and roll coming out of Shanghai. However you wanna paint it, if you haven’t given Neo Bar the chance, well 2021 is right around the corner.

For LiveChinaMusic’s first foray into Yangpu I couldn’t have asked for a better lineup. The evening kicked off with a set from Pale Air, one of the band who cut their teeth at Neo Bar since emerging three years ago. Young they may be but they’re dynamic as can be – showcasing their delicate volatile shoegaze sound that delicate one minute and turbulent the next. It’s not afraid to be vulnerable amongst some killer basslines and reverb-drenched chaos.

Naohai made their Neo Bar debut and knocked the socks off of audiences. It’s high-octane stuff that goes for the jugular – robust in its musicality yet accessible – touching on everything from post rock to alt rock. Everyone was firing on all cylinders – ratcheting up the tension one moment and charging forward with rigorous precision. If you’re living in the Zhejiang area keep your eyes peel as the band will be heading on tour next month.

Salty Tomorrow — yes, Tomorrow’s Salt no more – is pure artistry. At once revered and underrated, they’re authentic in their conviction and musical ingenuity. Combining the sharp stark edges of singer Li Wangnian’s Wisdom Teeth with the more melancholic and tender compositions seen in his solo work, Salty Tomorrow hit this sweet spot between reflective art house rock and panic-ridden infectious post punk – blind-siding listeners with their lyricism between thrusting them forward into a jangly off-kilter arpeggio that slowly rises and falls throughout a track. It’s all kinds of brilliant. Speaking of tours, south China best be ready for Salty Tomorrow next month.

Thanks again to Neo Bar, Pale Air, Naohai, Salty Tomorrow and all the fans and staff who help make the show possible.   

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