Gig Recap: Pumpkins, Last Goodbye, YangJi (2019.06.01)

Ruby Eyes Records – the indie label that’s been gobbling up one indie act after another – showcased their diverse and wicked roster with a lineup featuring some killer acts from around China.

The evening kicked off with a set from cult singer Yang Ji – who hasn’t so much shed her punk roots as reoutfitted them in atypical and alluring ways – fastening it with a kitsch KTV Cantopop gloss and tossing it in the blender with hard-hitting albiet lo-fi Death Grips style production, seamlessly blurring the line between vulnerability and keen self-awareness. Yue Space may not have been the best fit for her, but there’s no denying the sheer talent on display.

Up next were hometown favorites of mine, Last Goodbye, who was in the midst of their nationwide tour promoting their debut. What can I say, love these guys to death. They know their set like the back of their hands so it was a pleasure to see they pull out a new song (in Chinese nevertheless) that promises a new direction for the band while maintaining their firecracker magnetism and rhythmic pulse.

Truth be told, the night belonged to Pumpkins, the Xinxiang, the veteran old school punks who have embodied the spirit of punk like none other. They came out firing on all cylinders, barreling through one loud and dirty tune after another, keeping their dynamic fast and loose with just the right amount of sincerity. Even at its goofiest rambunctiousness, there’s a raw purity to the band’s high-octane live presence and their conviction. Legends they are for good reason. 

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