Gig Recap: Nerve Passenger (2021.09.11)

Nerve Passenger 神经旅人 – YuYinTang Park 育音堂音乐公园 2021.09.11

Good Passage of Nerves at Yuyintang Park with Nerve Passenger Saturday night packed a crowded Yuyintang in with Nerve Passenger to kick off their China tour: Let’s get to it. – Philip Hsu, Contributing Writer

all photos courtesy of Shot in the Dark

The name Nerve Passenger is deliciously neurotic. Coupled with their new album name Before I Become You and the whole teenage nightmare watercolor thing going on in there, and I had high hopes going into the show. And the good news is that NP has taken a lot of ideas out of their Nervous sleeve and are running with them very nicely, bubble machine behind the back and all. 

Talking about performance ethos, Nerve Passenger has stage presence, controls the crowd well with interaction, and also drives through with sound and power in the right places in the right songs. What starts with Baroque guitar riffs pull into dreamy lamentations about love and loss and shouty bangers that the crowd already knew how to sing yesterday. The three-piece band shows tightness, but not overly; it’s relaxed and loose playing with precise attention to detail in sound. Nerve Passenger have built a BMW and are content to have it sit in a parking lot during a thunderstorm with the windows partly down, as the driver tokes on an e-cig and their passenger sits in the backseat listening to the alternating roar and whimper of humanity. 

Rain imagery pervades Nerve’s songs, and in Clown and other songs we see the flower that blooms by a riverbank on a gloomy day, bright but none will pluck it, as the one who they would have wanted to give the flower to is gone. The fist closes around the flower’s stem. Nerve are writing from the heart, in the “drenched in wine” style of ancient Song poets and Norah Jones alike, but with more attention to the feeling of a desolate city street in the dark hours of AM, where the wind has cried in fury and rhythm a name, although it is not Mary.* Warmth could come through more, as could lightness. 

Nerve Passenger has command of their act, and it’s really great to see them fill spaces with throngs of their own fans and multiple highly recognizable songs. It’s a well-deserved and exciting start to their touring season, and while it will take these Captains of Crania just a little bit more work to get to “breakthrough” energy and musical levels, it won’t take much more time. Anyone who wants to get in on this Solitary Boat, best not to wait long. 

*It sounds more like a Steve, actually.

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