Steely Heart 钢心, Lonely Leary 孤独的利里, Future Orients 飞去来
Mao Livehouse 2021.08.22
Made my way back over at Mao Livehouse for the second day of their eleventh-anniversary bash – my first stop on an indulgent gig-filled Sunday and mainly an excuse to catch up with some of my favorite Beijing bands of yesteryears. Still get goosebumps seeing just how far these bands have come since working the weekday grind at places like Temple and School Bar.
Things kicked off with Future Orients – indie rock made with equal parts intensity and tenderness. And while in the past they’ve leaned too far into their boyish pop charms, I think they have finally find the perfect balance between their more explosive “I’m gonna jump off the stage and scream my guts onto the dance floor” side and their more angsty delicately reflective persona. And more importantly, there’s a confidence at hand – a clear enjoyment in letting loose these songs upon audiences. Excited to see where it’ll take them next year.
I’ve said my piece on Lonely Leary here again and again – but hands down I don’t think they is a better live act out there at the moment. Downright savage. Still in awe at how quickly they’re able to bring the audience onto their wavelength – throwing them on a knifes edge with almost sadistic pleasure. A raw vitality that feels ages away from the ‘safety’ of other post punk bands – and yet so hypnotic in its rhythmic pull. Do yourself a favor folks – check out Lonely Leary already.
Steely Heart are a beast of a different nature – a shameless dance punk act that really shouldn’t work but simply soars because of its unadulterated rock and roll charisma. By itself, the music isn’t exactly anything groundbreaking – but the way the band attacks each song, particularly singer Sai Li whose sloshed, staggered demeanor, jovial grin, and horse voice is impossible to resist. I would call them a guilty pleasure but that’d be a disservice to the band who are veteran ass-kickers and take perverse glee in rallying up its audience – which quickly turned into an onslaught of crowd surfers with some audience members having to be forcibly removed by security off the stage. Now that’s star power.
Cheers once again to Mao Livehouse for keeping it steady for 11 years.