As seen here -and I think I have a ticket stub somewhere in my stash- I had definite plans to watch Yuck last year, but couldn’t. I was surprised to see their name again in my Chinese gig schedule source recently (if you must ask), as the event was nowhere to be found in the expat-centric English lifestyle sites.
I knew of Yuck from their first album, but had not actively followed them after that release. Personnel changes happened with the band, I was made known, but I’ve already been on that road that time I saw Sepultura sans Max Cavalera. Admission price reasonable? Event venue accessible? The songs made me excited even just once-before? Then there’s barely any reason to miss this gig.
Held last September 17 at the Q Hall of QSW Culture Center, there was a good 30-40 people in the audience. On the opposite side of Shanghai, there was a better publicized, big music festival, that I went to last year. There were bands there I would love to see (Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, The Go! Team), but I wasn’t in the mood or mind-state to invest an entire Saturday for it. The Yuck gig fills that sweet spot I wanted that weekend, and I got it.
Generous head-bobbing was made to the more familiar songs -“The Wall” (sung by their bassist), “Get Away”- and still went on with the unfamiliar ditties. Yes, they sound so much like 90s rock music revivalists, but they pinned the sound down to the really, really good parts. A riff that could’ve been culled from a Kevin Shields B-side? Sure, as long as it works. Make a girl-boy duet song called “Lose My Breath” while you’re at it. Does it sound like that My Bloody Valentine song? No, but it is delightful.
There was an awkward moment when the band was anticipating a call for encore, but the crowd was just too thin to feel a response. We got it, and bassit Mariko tore into an unfamiliar Japanese song whose guitar lines may strike you as American Football-like. Later, I found out it was a cover of Happy End’s “Natsu Nandesu“. Though I was busy fiddling, trying to get good shots with my camera unofficially from the stage pit, the sheer beauty of those minutes was undeniably my highlight of the evening.