Let me start by thanking TimeOut Shanghai for picking me as the winner for free passes to the gig. Pity I didn’t have a “+1” to bring.
The news that Gang of Four was playing in Shanghai as part of the Jue Festival came at a time when there were too many things going on for me. I did want to go, since I do like the band, but I’ve skipped the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Hong Kong leg of her world tour a few weeks ago, so yeah, if I don’t see this one either, I’ve suffered a more significant loss already.
There’s someone in me that wishes what I just wrote was a joke.
It was the week when Shanghai was experiencing freezing weather again. My metro-ride playlist wasn’t adjusted to accommodate any of the Gang of Four albums, which means I probably just need to rely on memory to enjoy the gig. I’ve only browsed through the press releases, not really paying attention at all.
It was my first time to see local band, and show opener, Duck Fight Goose. Trippy set (or long song?), though I think I have to catch them some other time to actually make a more informed opinion.
The show’s co-headliner, AV Okubo, hails from Wuhan, and played one of the more interesting sets I’ve seen lately by a Chinese band. The crowd dug the lively, somewhat surreal blend of dance music-infused rock. They were a visual treat as well, much props to their bassist for looking the part of punk-rock itself.
Back to my less-informed mind-state. I didn’t know there was only one member left from the original Gang of Four roster. I felt OK when the band dished out their first songs, but there just wasn’t really much of a post-punk vibe going on, especially if your new vocalist wouldn’t be too out-of-place if you placed him, oh, in a My Bloody Valentine covers band.
There was also something off. I hardly recognized their popular songs. Surely, you won’t miss them doing Damaged Goods, but mostly everything else lacked a commanding element to it. Yes, the guitar-playing the band is famous for is there, but it wasn’t paired with a voice that worked.
Despite these glaring observations, Gang of Four are rock music heroes, and for some time a few years ago, I was devouring their songs with so much gusto. Seeing them in this less-than-ideal state is still one thing that should just be done.
On a photography-related note, this gig made it apparent I have noticeable molds on my main lens AGAIN, that showed in my photos. I guess this is just the right time to put the big camera aside for now.