Gig Recap: Shanghai Qiutian, Thin City, Pizza Face, Stranding Imbrium (2019.07.27)

Live Beijing Music helped DDC celebrate their 5th Year Anniversary last weekend and what a blast – we got very lucky with two visiting bands dropping in from Shenzhen and Shanghai to grace us with their presence – emotive math rock indie outfit Shanghai Qiutian and art-punk scrappers Thin City – two bands who exploded onto the scene this year with wonderfully realized debuts on Wild Records (out of Wuhan) and BoringProductions (out of Shenzhen). Joining them were two new Beijing contenders to be reckoned with – instrumental rockers Stranding Imbrium and red hot garage punk ruffians Pizza Face.

Stranding Imbrium kicked things off with a slow-burning instrumental set – a fine palate cleanser and the tire calm before the storm. It would be easy to throw them into the post-rock category but that’d be doing a disservice to a lot of the subtle flourishes of math rock and in general, the atmosphere they brought to their set. Mighty curious to see how these cats grow into their sound in the future.

I knew they’d be trouble (of the best kind) come Pizza Face’s set and they did not disappoint. A Molotov cocktail of attitude and ramshackle charm that’ll have you grinning like a Cheshire Cat, they’re a band that’s not afraid to mix it up – ricocheting from waltzy dream-pop one moment and trampling in a pogoing punk rock ditty the next. Singer Spirit is one for the ages – fearless, provocative and giddy – a performer who relishes the stage and take command of her audience.

The real fireworks began with Shanghai Qiutian, the five-piece outfit that manages to find the emulate the live-wire emotions inherent to emo rock and elevate them to cascading stadium rock worthy ballads.

While there’s always been a low-key seductiveness found in the looping chords and intricate interplay between its members, its the way the band leans into their ferocious performance – thundering drums that ignite, high pitched guitar chords that sizzle – all with the aerobatic vitality not missing from two many acts these days.

The evening ended on a bittersweet note – nevertheless a riotous triumphant one – as Shenzhen’s Thin City, whose twangy energetic mix of guitar rock and art-punk I find impossible not to like, gave their last performance ever. But boy did they grout with a bang, ripping into their sensation catalog of peppy rock and roll hits, hitting every beat and high note with bombast. There’s an anarchist spirit to the band’s sound – one that values humor, wonder, imagination and good times – that’s downright infectious. The audience was having such a grand ol’ time, they even got the band to send off their track ‘Queen Olga’ twice. You’ll be missed Thin City.

All in all, a hell of a night – once again, thanks to DDC for letting me run amuck at their fine establishment; thanks to the audience who lapped up every second; and thanks to the bands for knocking it out of the park. Onwards!

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