Gig Recap: Sadkids Club (Guangzhou 2021.10.10)

Sadkids Club – Portal, Guangzhou 2021.10.10

Popped into Shenzhen and Guangzhou over the Golden Week – a low-key holiday destination for sure – but the perfect excuse to say hi to old friends and more importantly dig a little digger into each cities music scene. While I was able to get my fix at Oil Club and Old Heaven Bookstore in Shenzhen, in Guangzhou I had plenty of time to pop around the city and get a feel for the sweltering cities’ underground spots. Compared to Beijing and Shanghai, Guangzhou is pure chaos – a jumble of densely packed streets to the west (where the old city resides) and slick some spread out well-to-do neighbourhoods. Highways seem to spout from every corner of the city, one-way streets run amuck, and the battle of commerce and culture is a constant. Did I mention it’s hot as all hell? 

While it may not have the nonstop activity of its big brothers up north, I was pleasantly surprised at how much is happening there under the surface. Case in point – the hip art venue and bar Rozz-Tox (which after stumbling aloof into their first location, learned has two locations) which converts into a dancefloor on some nights.  Was able to catch long-standing Beijing-based musician and producer Simon Frank – whose anxious live-wire post punk industrial electronic sound fit the space perfectly – minimalist rhythmic pleasures that made the (gulp) overpriced beer go down more easily.

Most of Guangzhou’s other venues are spread out all over the city – with the newer ones finding homes in ‘industrial parks’ in neighborhoods the city hopes will see an influx of money-spending kids. Yet, there are still those spaces that seem to relish building a home amongst the true city locals – as with Portal, the new distro/art space/studio from some of the faces behind Qiii Snacks Records, EGGs, and Vinyl House Cafe (which is still kicking all sorts of ass in the Mistress District). I popped by there on my last day in Guangzhou for the release party for Sadkids Club’s new tape with Qiii Snacks.

It’s hard to describe what Sadkids Club is aiming for but the bedroom emo pop most definitely leans into performance art – very much akin to a post-breakup confessional KTV breakdown – endearingly self-deprecating yet strangely affectionate, with some slick lo-fi production lurking underneath the surface. Wallowing in the pain and bittersweet agony that comes with love and heartbreak, the artist seems to have taken the glossy synth-pop aesthetics of The Weeknd and other mainstream pop acts and downgraded it into an introverted lo-fi bedroom project – creating a neon-blitzed twisted fantasy orchestrated by unchecked emotions. 

Above all, the performance was genuine – cringe-worthy at times and brutally raw at others – with always a cheeky aside (or speaky rubber duck) to cut through the awkardwardness. The soul-bearing, broken-English crooning, and DIY-assembled project is certainly not for everyone, but I kinda can’t stop thinking about it. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.