Gig Recap: Wang Wen, Glow Curve, iimmune x Xie Yugang (2019.05.13)

Two juggernauts post-rock groups – Dalian’s Wang Wen – who just hit the road this week for their latest trek around Europe – and Beijing’s Glow Curve, a band that has steadily been evolving their sound into something simply transcendent – performing on a Monday night all the way in Wukesong. And of course, the place was packed out. Hordes of eager fans getting an early start to the week via some of the most mesmerizing sounds this side of the country. The evening kicked off with a special ambient impromptu scoring of a silent film from those band’s most prolific members – Xie Yugang (whose ambient releases over the years have attracted many ears) and iimmune (whose genre-bending intricately-layered brand of electronica remains one of the best). Exquisite stuff for certain, but you could sense folks were eager for the main course which started with a full helping of Glow Curve. The band has been teasing their forthcoming new album for just about ever, and tonight they gave perhaps their finest peek at what’s in store come next month. With a stronger emphasis on vocals (particularly from Xue Ran whose ghostly gruff voice is in top form here) and slick, intricately rich electronics, the band seems to have found the perfect balance between dreamy dissonance and lush crescendoing rhythms that keep you on your toes while needling their way to your heart. Simply put, they remain one of Beijing’s finest (and somehow still underrated) bands. As for Wang Wen – they don’t fuck around. They’re a group that brings a level of musicianship rarely seen in Chinese bands – every note; every guitar strung; every muffled horn; every layered noise effect – is right where it needs to be. There’s an immediate satisfaction to tagging along with one of their songs, knowing full well you’re gonna be gripped and stirred come seven minutes later (and often, left wanting more). It’s music that truly earns the tag ‘epic’ – not afraid to dip into heavy guitar rock one moment only to completely strip the song down to its bare minimum seconds later. There’s no one out there like these cats. So yeah, that’s Monday night for you!

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