Shanghai Qiutian, Hoo!, YouCeHeiLu 右侧合流, Loft Beach Mao Livehouse 2021.03.20
Face me on stages ain’t exactly a new concept – they’ve been floating around in one conception or another for years now. But when done right – with the right bands, the right crowds, and the right presentation – it’s the best. I think a lot of what goes into the alchemy of a successful face-off is the banter and comradery of who’s performing. And last Saturday, the bands – Hoo! and YouCeHeiLu 右侧合流 from Guangdong going up against Loft Beach and Shanghai Qiutian – were having a rollicking good time, cheering each other on, mimicking each other’s instrumentation (you never know when you’ll need a cover for a future date) and even teaming up Morphin Power Ranger style for an epic (and most definitely saucy) jam.
A joyous celebration of music indeed. Set up in the center of Mao Livehouse’s dance floor, audiences found themselves engulfing the bands who were coated in red and blue lights designating their place in the tournament. Audience members eyeing for a better vantage point eventually took over the upstairs area and even took to jumping on the main stage.
Shanghai Qiutian, not one for stalling during their momentum building tracks, found the perfect outlet for their communal sing-a-longs, getting many a crowd members to show off their singing chops.
Meanwhile, YouCeHeiLu brought antsy punk stylings to their fizzy math rock pop – a messy and much-welcomed departure from their more refined stage presence I witnessed last summer.
Loft Beach seemed to relish performing against their indie pop counterparts Hoo! – injecting some scrappy charm (including their bass player going full-on schoolgirl after losing a bet) into their jangly Britpop beach pop.
And Hoo! – always known for their combustible energy – earnestly showed off their pop sensibilities before dovetailing into chaos – complete with blindfolded drummers, and guitars being tossed about every which way.
Each band held their own – and having them shuffle about, volleying song after another, gave the event a topsy-turvy feeling that kept your ears always perked in anticipation. And after six-plus months of predictable indie rock platters, this felt like a relief – a rock show with real stakes and real emotions swirling into a tailspin. Now if only I could get some proper lighting in the center of the dance floor.