On The Scene: Yugong Yishan 16/11/2011

I envy anyone living in the Gulou area – minus Dos Kolegas, D-22, and Mako Livehouse, you have just about every music venue in walking distance to you. You could potentially check out a show every night without the stress and routine of ‘making a night out of it’. A lazy Tuesday evening, why not be serenaded by some folk music. Still got some fighting spirit left in you from the weekend – why not rock out at Mao. Myself, on the other hand, may not be as fortunate to have all of Gulou a stone’s throw away, but my locale does offer some convenience, and a twenty-minute hike to Yugong Yishan really ain’t bad at all. So why not turn up the heat on a chilly Wednesday evening with some rock and roll from the rookies of the year, Residence A, and a healthy dose of nostalgic-hard Americana, with Two Gallants.
What can I say about Residence A that I haven’t already said? I mean, these guys have been busting their ass all year and it’s paying off – their sound is getting tighter, they know how to work the crowds, and the exposure they have been seeing as of lately has been magnificent. I’m guessing it’s all leading up to their dedut album which surely must be right around the corner now, and at this rate, Residence A may be claiming the spot for band of the year in my book. My new favorite of theirs at the moment –


An overheard remark was that Residence A are a great jukebox band, who sound like a different band on each song. Now granted, there is some truth to this, as there does seem to be some push and pull between their softer more poppy indie sound and their reckless dirty rock sound. Just compare the above song to one of their more popular songs like “Disco”

 However, I don’t find any fault in this at all. In fact, I love how their can jump from genre to genre at ease. They are plenty of ‘one-trick ponies’ in town, who can’t seem to escape their foundations. This is what makes Residence A so exciting – they can’t be pinned down exactly – but one thing is clear though, they’re damn good.
Back in September, I remember seeing Ludacris at the Black Rabbit Music Festival. Not really a memorable performance, but great fun on a nostalgic level, as it brought back many vivid memories of middle school. Fast forward two months, and here I was listening to Two Gallants, equipped with drum and guitar and breads that would puts some Orthodox Jews’ to shame, singing feverish whiskey-soaked folk (you can add whatever additive to it – rock, punk, post, but at the end of the day, it’s folk, through and through) and suddenly a knot tightens my gut. And it hit me – homesick blues. I had never even heard of Two Gallants before my trek to Yugong Yishan, but somehow they manage to transport me back to the good ol’ US of A – not to any specific moment but to a specific feeling. Of being young, reckless, full of stream, dreaming big. Of going all in on a pair of aces, of trekking into unknown territory – this was the Manifest Destiny captured in song. So yeah, they surprised the hell out of me…and I was on nostalgia high the rest of the night. Only thing missing was my tin of Skoal dipping tobacco. Check out their new song, which possibly is called “You Can Try” (just an educated guess)

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