On The Scene: Mao Livehouse 22-12-2012


While throwing a shindig at my house I popped my head into Mao Livehouse to check out techno rockers AV Okubo and Da Bang before catching the tail disappointing end of my own party. It’s just too hard to keep me away sometimes. Well, actually, someone put me on the guest list, and like the cheap, key word, practical man I am I can’t turn down free tickets. Have you ever tried to sneak into Mao – can’t be done. And I thought Andy Gill would be playing? Who starts such crazy rumors?!


This was my first time catching the newly reformed Da Bang, who as some remember were Bigger Bang only a year and a half ago before having a sound overhaul and title change. Well, I stood behind their last album (hell I own the damn thing) and even am digging their latest Celebrate, but this is most certainly not the same group I remember seeing two years ago at Yugong Yishan.

This is a calmer, softer Pupi – focused for sure, but lacking a certain spark, that rock star charisma I saw once before. I recall BeijingDaze catching on this earlier, and I have to say, the man is right. The songs are catchy (really catchy), but played live, they’re missing that extra oomph to get my body jumping up and down.

It’ soft indie electro rock with the emphasis on soft. They have the goods but the delivery system is all-wrong. Though if you think about it, did we really need an other solid punk girl singer? Maybe Pupi and company are onto something here – time will tell.


While the evolution of Da Bang intrigues, for better or worse, AV Okubo are still the wired trigger happy old school tech rockers that give it their all. For better or worse. But hell how can one not get giddy at this?

I love the childlike enthusiasm in their sound – you really do feel like you’ve been transported back to Saturday morning cartoons. Cracked up on Fruity Peddle cereal, rolling around in your sweatpants performing high kicks on your cat. These guys know the drill.

While their sound can get a little too hyperactive at times (remember coming down from a sugar high as a wee lad?), their energy is unmatchable. And if the new recordings done with producer Andy Gills (of Gang of Four and more) are any indication, then it shall be a good and most interesting year for AV Okubo. Stoked to see what they have to store for us. Here’s a taste.

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