On The Scene: Tango 17-11-2011

I’ve been catching bits and pieces of Omnipotent Youth Society in the past year, usually at the music festivals – I enjoyed the diversity of their lineup, with guitars, violins, and most prominently a trumpet seamlessly playing together. But as much of I dug their sound, there was a distance that didn’t allow me to fully engage with their music. Well, thanks to a heads-up from BeijingDaze and Tango’s gullible security guards (yeah, I didn’t have tickets), I was able to catch half of OYS’s set, and as corny as it sounds, become a believer.


Omnipotent Youth Society make grandiose music — it’s big and lean, full of buildups and solos from just about every member. Yet at the same time, there is intimacy and understanding of this generation of young adults in China (an omnipotent youth society) which drives the poetic and often moving lyrics. Now this is what I missed earlier I realized, and standing in Tango, listening to the audience respectfully sing along in unison with the band; seeing my Chinese friends who were first time listeners, be completely taken aback and listening intently — well it was obvious that OYS’s words were striking a chord with the audience. Now I hate to make comparisons to other bands, especially from the West, but in many ways, I was reminded of Dave Matthews Band (just replace the trumpet with a sax), and to lesser extent, Dispatch – grassroots bands that slowly gained a following with the youth of the 90s/00’s; bands who could jam for ten minutes straight and still have the audience right there with them, holding onto every word, like it was their own. All in all, it was exhilarating watching OYS play, immediately forcing me to buy their album afterwards.


I managed to record one of their songs – “Kill the One from Shijiazhuang”, the last song off their album, which really captures the spell that Omnipotent Youth Society put over us all Thursday evening. Check it out below along with its lyrics. Makes me want to pick up trumpet playing again.

Kill the One from Shijiazhuang
Get off work at six in the evening
Change out of the pharmaceutical plant uniform
The wife boils porridge
I go out to drink a few beers
This life played out for thirty years
until the tower collapsed
A blackness deep in the clouds
has washed away the wonders of my heart
At the octagonal counter
in crazy People’s department store
Use a fake bill
Buy a fake gun
Guard her life
until the tower collapsed
Night’s mask descends over the north china plain
Sorrow saturates her face
In the middle school attached to Hebei Normal University
the ping pong boy stands with his back to me
A silent stare
A classroom one cannot exit
Living in father’s experiences
until the tower collapses
Ten thousand unbridled horses
gallop through his brain  
This life played out for 30 years
until the tower collapsed
Blackness deep in the clouds
has washed away the wonders of my heart

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.