Gig Recap: Nouvelle, Kenja Time, ROMO (2021.12.18)

Nouvelle, Kenja Time 空加太, ROMO 如梦 – SYSTEM 系统 2021.12.12

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, showed off their new roster this past Saturday at SYSTEM. Each band is fresh off their debut this past year, and each continuing and breaking free from the labels renowned sound. 

Kenja Time may be the greenest of the bunch, but they have plenty to offer as they lean into the softer more somber aspect of post punk. Musically it’s more sparse, with just enough of an instrumental rock edge to give their songs a woozy exploration that complements some of their more twisty and propulsive arrangements. An art-house band that fit in nicely with SYSTEMS bare-bones setup. 

Meanwhile, Nouvelle, out of Guangzhou, showcased their high-pitched noise rock that sways between cathartic emo rock and reverb-heavy indie pop. Lots of fun these cats and love how its members switch up vocal duties every once in a while. Not every song is a winner but when they hit you’re in tween indie rock heaven. 

Last but not least, Wuhan post punk outfit ROMO – whose emphasis on the bendy knot-inducing guitar noise, propulsive bass, and somber vocals has made their debut one of my favorites of the year. It’s moody, atmospheric yet always circles back in its melodic drive. And based on the crowd reception (minus the one lost soul who couldn’t keep his shit together) they were the highlights of the evening. 

Now if only I could figure out how to take proper pictures in SYSTEM. 

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