Pulled double duty last week as I bounced for Yuyintang Park to Mao Livehouse to take in as many acts as possible. Back in Beijing, this was as easy as walking less than a kilometre to the next venue, eventually making your way to the blackhole of Temple Bar/Dada – who never even got started till well after 10 PM. So yeah, trying to apply the same strategy here in Shanghai was more than ambitious and ended up sweating on a bike a good chunk of the time, but I have my reasons.
First off, for better or worse my wife has decided that Poetry in Shorts 短裤里的诗歌 is her favorite band in China at the moment. This is someone who pretty much gave up on going to gigs five years ago after realizing she didn’t need to indulge me. And then after a couple of weeks of me playing their music last year, she just decides out of the blue that these are her guys. And I suppose it’s easy to see why. The band oozes charisma. Not the faux kind one may see on the television show The Big Band, but down and out, scrappy, blues-ridden rock and roll charismatic – romantic swagger that knows the power of their words, and whose members take turns enrapturing audiences (even drummers can get their due!). Terrifying me while titillating my wife. So thanks assholes!
So yeah of course after that I need to get out of there pronto and head to Mao Livehouse. If she gets hers then I’ll get mine! SKA! Yes, I had promised myself long ago that I was going to have to see The Bricks 板砖, the ska legends out of Hangzhou, who have evaded me for almost eight years now. But before I could get my fix I was treated to an appetizer course of Mirrors 解离的真实, fresh from their album release show a month back. Still love these cats and truth be told Aming oozes a whole other level of charisma. Dangerously alluring they are.
But the evening belonged the ska ensemble The Bricks 板砖 who turned the place into a skank fest! Simply infectious music that possesses you. Brass members pass melodies and solos between one another like a game of hacky sack. Vocalist Mai Tian 麦田 doesn’t even emerge till a good four songs in, hoisting rabid fans on stage to lead the dance party. But really, it’s an outfit where every member leaves their mark – from guitarist Da Zhong 大钟 to bassist Wang Daniu王大牛. I’m not even a ska guy (but holy shit was there a huge league of ska junkies on hand) but it’s impossible not to smile when you hear these cats perform. Kudos The Bricks! May our paths cross again!