On The Scene: Mao Livehouse 21/02/2013


Look ma! I caught up! Split Works’ JUE Festival kicked off last Thursday, and they didn’t hold back one bit for their preshow at Mao Livehouse, bringing out San Francisco garage revival psychedelic rockers Thee Oh Sees for a rip-roaring ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ time with our own giddy slightly demented The Planets on opening duties. So yeah, a complete blast, even more so cause I had no idea how rambunctiously vibrant Thee Oh Sees would be –

a reminder of the enormous pool of talent I left back stateside. Check out how the rest of the evening fared.


As many of you know, I’m been keeping my eyes on The Planets since I first caught them back at he beginning of last summer. Their offbeat swagger and B-52s era dance-rock mayhem was and still is a breathe of fresh air.


Well, time has done the boys well as tonight they took the big stage with ease, though a part wished they came out a tad more unhinged, as I feel that’s where their music shines the most. It’s a neurotic mess, full of tepid lyrics, tweaked out vocals, and an air of anxiousness that translates so well into their sound.


I dig the hell out of it, and I can only hope that when they do come around to releasing something it keeps all that intact.


Thee Oh Sees, having just finished dinner and I can only imagine fighting off some serious jet lag didn’t waste a minute setting things into high gear. The coaling burning, the whistle had churned and this train had set off. And that son of a bitch didn’t make one stop for about ninety minutes straight.


Playing some sick twisted spun backwoods version of the Mamas and Papas, Thee Oh Sees were a cold slap to the face – the realization that the majority of the bands here in Beijing still have some a lot of headway to make before they can enrapture a crowd like this.


From the way John Dwyer sang (and swallowed whole at times) into the mic with his demonic hillbilly scrawl, to the way the bassist pecked away like a chicken on speed, there was not a dull moment, and one of the times where a band has completely elevated their own material to new heights.


Lets hope Split Works didn’t blow their wad too early this year, cause a show like this is gonna be hard to top. Props. Click here for more videos for The Planets“Just No”, \”Kiss Girls\”, and \”I Want Get Free\” as well as a extended version of Thee Oh Sees\’ \”Block Of Ice\”, arguably the highlight of the night but I felt guilty including it above due to a thirty lapse being cut toward the end due to my face being melted off (though I bet a lot of you would miss it any who). Enjoy.

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