Gig Recap: Mercader, Planet & Tree, Baihu, Silent Speech (04.13)

Local label and promotion group Cold Neo, one of the unsung heroes of the scene, celebrated four years last Friday (while the rest of Beijing collapsed into gig hell) with a hearty lineup down over at Omni Space – featuring some acts I’ve been trying to track down for sometime. 

At the top of my list were Guangzhou renegades Mercader, whose blissful and sometimes bewildering mix of post-punk, no wave, and indie rock was as much as fun as I’d hoped for, reminding me at times of a more upbeat melodically keen P.K.14 or even more so a dirtier New Pants – with a gritty yet Canto-pop vibe that can turn on a dime. Heaps of fun and contender for most ridiculous and pointed shirt this year.

Dusty folk rockers Planet & Tree, headed by the esteemed and infamous Cui Xudong – a prominent musician from Shijiazhuang who was involved with many of Omnipotent Youth Society’s early incarnations, made not have shocked or delighted me as much, but they knew how to work the crowd, offering a soulful, rich, and charming blend of blues-flirting folksy rock and roll. 

Silent Speech, who can effortlessly maneuver from one style to another, proved once again they’re a band to keep an eye out for – a melodic, emotional wry, and instrumentally charged smorgasbord of 90s alt rock that’s above all else, genuine and assured. 

Finally, the evening saw the debut of Baihu, or White Tiger, the new psychedelic supergroup made up of some of Maybe Mars’ most mischievous characters including Brain Jonestown Massacre’s Ricky Maymi on drums, Birdstriking/Gate to Otherside’s Sun Heting on vocals, and more familiar faces. As far as debuts go, the five-piece band showed a lot of promise – a long and winding mixture of psychedelic soundscaping and wistful daydreaming, that despite invoking some of its member’s previous bands still offered some nice surprises. Curious to see what they’ll cook up in the near future. All in all, a long, slightly deranged evening of sounds and a fine birthday powwow for Cold Neo. Cheers.

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