On The Scene: XP 01-12-2012


Shanghai has been busy busy getting up to Beijing to show off their stuff. And while I’ve heard countless claims that Shanghai doesn’t come anywhere close quality-wise to what Beijing has, I’m been mighty impressed by the showmanship and all out fine work I’ve seen thus far – case in point, Pairs, the noisy schizo duo whose crazed commitment to getting the most out of every song is endearing to the max. They came through XP at the beginning of the month to promote their double-vinyl If This Cockroach Doesn’t Die, I Will, with Gum Bleed, Baby Formula, and 16 mins supporting.


Yeah, I missed the first two acts, shame on me – considering I was looking forward to catching Baby Formula and 16 mins for my first time. But from what I heard I didn’t miss much – still though, shame shame. Did get to see Gum Bleed who don’t disappoint.

They’re an earnest as hell old school punk band, who have songs ridiculously cheesy and awesome at the same time. Frontman Dee is a character in himself, a snarling, ‘singing through the teeth’ off kilter yet surprisingly warm gremlin.

As BeijingDaze commented, XP ain’t exactly the right place for these kids – one too many crossed-arms folks too scared to dance their asses off – but still Gum Bleed is that dose of traditional punk rock that’s too good to pass off.


This was Pairs night though, who gave XP a set full of screaming fun, humorous antics, and just straight up off the wall fuck it. My lady brought her old colleague with her. This was her first show here in Beijing. Her first taste of rock. This is what she gets.

Wide-eyed she turned to me and said only this – “He’s on drugs, right?” Love it. Really though, watching Xiao Zhong is indeed like watching a man run the course of a week in a thirty minute set. Man has to be going grey at this point. He leaves it all and then some out there.

What it comes down to though is the music and it doesn’t disappoint – it come at you fast and doesn’t let up. F may have the easier job, but she’s clutch to the duo, providing some really fast driving chords to the kaleidoscope of mayhem unfolding. And when you start to allow the lyrics to sink in, you realize there’s a purity to it all that’s incredibly genuine and honest. This fact shined though the most on their song “Cat Food”, where you can particularity feel Xiao Zhong clinging to making sense of it all.

It’s a kick to the nuts, a frenzied cry for help, an exorcism of frustration, and it’s fucking just ace. Pairs are the real deal people, and Shanghai should be glad they’ve got them. Check below for one more from the duo.

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