Now this is how you release an album…I haven’t left a show this satisfied in a while. An hour and forty-five minutes of pure gold from the Hedgehog crew left Yugong Yishan literally steaming with excitement and good vibes. And boy do I have the goods to show here…but first, let’s take a look at the warm up performances from Space Bitch and Pacalolo.
First up were Space Bitch, which iat its most basic is a post-rock punk combo – slow burning songs with sparse vocals and a driving monotone drum beat.
The audience at Yugong Yishan didn’t really do them justice – this is atmospheric music which deserves deadening silence – angst new wave music that John Hughes would be proud of – if those red balloons above me had come down sooner, I would have mistaken the place for 80s prom night.
Next was Pacalolo who have been around the circuit forever, playing almost everywhere, and I gotta say, though a lot of their music was light-hearted fare, it’s fun. Using an electronic backdrop as a safety net of sorts, they have this quirky attitude that’s very reminiscent of New Pants, with their quasi-satirical songs like the not so subtlety named “Big Brother is Watching You”.
And Ma 2, the lead singer, has a beautiful bountiful voice which you don’t hear too often in bands in Beijing. I mean this in the best possible way, but I could easily see these songs making a splash on the radio waves here, especially “KTV Nation”, which yes I could see myself singing in a KTV joint.
But alright let’s get to the what you all want to hear and see…and my my how time has aged these boys (and girl).
It seems that Hedgehog has been doing a lot of growing in the past year, experimenting with noise a lot more, releasing an album they aren’t too proud of (but still pretty friggin’ awesome), touring the US, and having a new album to show for it – and they haven’t sound better.
Their skills were on full display tonight, as they played a staggering hour of forty minute plus set full of their catalogue of old favorites, and new songs off their album, Sun Fun Gun. Fans were going nuts, hell, I was going nuts – singing along, terribly in my faux Chinese, to all my favorites. I could go down the list of song by song of what they played, but that would be painful for you, the audience who just wants to watch some god damn videos already. Some highlights…
I’m delighted they played “Broken Wings” off their 2011 Destroy Memories – it really showcases how noisy and dirty Hedgehog is willing to get all the whist keeping sincerity in their lyrics.
Atom was in full force tonight, as my friend who had never seen Hedgehog before stated, Atom takes progressive drumming to a whole new level, beautifully building the songs and downright taking control of the them at times –she even was able to showcase her singing abilities –
Their English lyrics are more pointed then ever now….whether it be contemplating that we’re all just “bad bad bad bad bad seeds” in the far east in the fastest two-and-half minutes of rock your ear can handle in “Surf with Sharks”; or commenting scarily and hilariously on chinese culture in “Choose Whatever You Want All The Time”, which I must admit didn’t sound as good as it does on the album.
Not sure where they pulled this song from, which I’m guessing is called “It’s Alright”, but its a pretty sweet upbeat nostalgic feeling song, with the most electronic backing I’ve heard thus far in their sets.
The energy was inescapable tonight though, and by the time they reached “Heart on Fire”, their new single, there wasn’t a dry person at Yugong Yishan. And yeahhhh, red balloons raining from the sky.
There aren’t too many bands which capture the youth mentality so acutely here in Beijing, and it’s great to see Hedgehog’s sound is progressing alongside this fair town.
Check below for more videos of Hedgehog and Space Bitch.