Gig Recap: Tidal Pool Blue, Young & Dumb, The Upside Down (2021.03.21)

Tidal Pool Blue 潮池蓝, Young & Dumb 甜又丧, The Upside Down 完美倒立 at BFC 2021.03.21

A week back, Luuv Label and BFC hosted Mood Swings, a three-day festival of music that looked to capture the shifting and budding relationship between music and one’s state of mind complete with an open-air rooftop party overlooking the Bund. With an onslaught of producers, bands, and artists with each night offering something different, the festival truly did capture that moodiness of the seasons, as audiences warmed themselves up last Sunday night by dancing the night away to the bubbly, synth-pop indie tunes of three bands who broke big last year with new releases – Chongqing’s The Upside Down, Hefei’s Tidal Pool Blue, and Xi’an’s Young & Dumb.

I arrived in time to catch Hefei’s Tidal Pool Blue – a brazen indie pop band that leans hard into the 80s city pop crossed with kitsch synth pop aesthetic. A bit too schmaltzy and superficial for me, and lacking the punch needed for a band of this nature to really make their mark, there’s nevertheless no denying the melodic chops of the band. And highly recommend their debut EP 太阳可以是蓝色吗 from last fall. 

The Upside Down were perhaps the highlight for me tonight. The Chengdu band has always had a noiser rock and roll streak beneath their disco synth veneer – giving their live sets kinetic and ethereal energy – always ready to jump into the next beat with aplomb and gusto. And yeah – lots of catchy singles in their catalgoue. 

Closing out the night for me was Xi’an’s Young & Dumb, a laid-back mix of simmering dream pop and jangly indie pop. While the band, fighting the frigid night winds, didn’t quite gel with me as much as their recordings, there’s a lot to like here – from Li Yimeng’s gentle yet potent voice to almost effortless melodic heft of their songs. Will have to catch out in more closed settings next time round. 

All in all, a fine close to a heavy musical weekend for this editor – the last for many many months. 

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