On The Scene: Blue Stream Bar 07-09-2013


Nothing spells low-key like a night out at the Blue Stream Bar – a venue that doesn’t nearly get enough love around these parts (heck, they’re barely are listed anymore in the magazines around town). Cozy and unpretentious, a lot like the three wildly diverse bands who sung though the joint for some Saturday night pickings – including synth-pop pranksters Pacalolo, and new Mongolian music guardians Taan Towch, and Perpetual Motion Machine, who I’d realized I hadn’t caught all year. Blasphemy!

Melodic more than ever now, these three are striking a chord not usually heard in their music and I’m loving it. Tugging on those heart strings much. Check out more from the new wave rockers, Pacalolo, and Taan Towch.


Pacalolo walk the thin line between being a caricature and true-to-heart electro rock. I think that’s kinda the point.

Light on its feet, quirky, fronted by the bountiful lovely voiced Ma 2, Pacalolo doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s fun, bumble gum synth-pop.

Nevertheless, I expected more – as a whole they sounded too minute – the electronic backing feel contrived, and the band looked as though they were struggling to get the audience moving (which simply doesn’t happen at Blue Stream). Pacalolo needs to embrace their sound and go bigger and more ridiculous.


Mongolian outfit Taan Towch immediately silenced patrons as they played a roaring set of Oirat folk music (that’s western Mongolia) with flourishes of reggae and world music. Simply beautiful, delicate music.

Granted there are plenty of Mongolia folk groups out there at this point, Tann Towch are in a league of their own. This is sweeping music, made with the utmost care, with everyone putting in his weight. Just try not to get caught up in this one.

Taan Towch left the establishment wide-eyed with wonder after – yeah, it was that good.


The night ended with a kicker – Perpetual Motion Machine, busy as ever (and with a new manager), looking to get in their licks. And boy, have I missed these guys.

Solid all around – they don’t make them like they used to. Crisp melodies, catchy hooks, and more than enough musicianship to have you coming back for more.

But it was the band’s newer material that really perked my ears – filled with imagery straight out of ancient Chinese texts, juxtaposition against the modern lay of the land, it’s strikingly poetic stuff made all the more melodic by the band’s compositions.

It may lack the bombast kinetic energy of their earlier work, but more than makes up for it with plenty of heart. Motherfuckers be playing with my emotions, in a different language nevertheless. Welcome back Perpetual Motion Machine.

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