I entered Mao Livehouse greeted with what looked like band side-projects playing heavy industrial music, with lots of screaming. There was no prior research before going to that night’s gig, but my hunch was good on this one already. Besides, the local Fete dela Musique gig opener somewhere else earlier that day had the vibe I’ve grown accustomed to because of the local music festivals, but would still be a little annoyed with: the audience was there for the occasion, and not really for the music.
Some time after, when the proper lineup started, it was easy to come up with this conclusion: this was the most sonically satisfying multi-band gig, so far. These (mostly) Beijing-based kids probably had their own Thurston Moore shrines in their bedrooms. If I mentioned musical outfits Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil, I probably would’ve heard a reaction. Yes, it was like 4AD/SubPop night, minus a boatload of hipster-friendliness.
Most interesting act was Chui Wan: hypnotic but not really groovy, has a goth-dance vibe, though not nearly. Must see to believe!
Highlight? Carsick Cars. Now I understand why the crowd swelled, and why this was not just any other gig for them. These guys are rockstars, and deservingly so. I didn’t mind much that the ringing in my ears just wouldn’t stop a day after.