Big Four, Part 2

Part 1 here.

World’s End Girlfriend
November 5, 2016
QSW Culture Center

When news of World’s End Girlfriend playing here got around, there wasn’t any hint of hesitation that I just had to go, though, sure, I’ve only seen a handful of music videos, maybe played a song or two, but there was no legitimate big fan tag to pin with legitimacy on me. Should it matter, though? There’s that admission, and there was this opportunity that this -to put it bluntly- will be just like any other weekend gig I go to, except that it was a Japanese band that has appealed to the discerning music fans outside of their country for some time.

The easy way to define the show was that it was a visual treat, with a vast amount of sonic, post-rock landscapes explored. Half of what I witnessed lies comfortably in that post-rock bed, but the rest I cannot confidently put a finger on. Ambient rock? The aural flavors were surprising, some familiar, some lingered and slid off deliciously. The last gig I went to where the audience was fed generously with eye candy was at the Godspeed You! Black Emperor show, but instead of the grime and grit, this was near-psychedelia.

To nitpick, project-head/bandleader Katsuhiko Maeda appeared to be performing at 70% levels, that during the encore, the band had to repeat a song. Nonetheless, that didn’t spoil this remarkable gig, it was just a bit I can’t escape from, being front-and-center, and on a constant lookout for something to photograph.

WORLD'S END GIRLFRIEND #qswculturecenter #shanghai

A video posted by Rain Contreras (@wrongboy) on


November 12, 2016
On Stage

When all these Japanese bands I used to listen to obsessively years ago starting showing up here in Shanghai, there was always this incessant feeling that there was no way I can see every single one of them. No chance. I may have acquired my sticker sheet, and have filled most of it, but there will always be that blank space.

te’ was the only, say, box left to tick, and that conversations-with-self dialogue now concludes with a, “That’s it. We’re done after this.”

They played a handful of the old, familiar songs, and the rest felt a lot like a longtime crush showing me her longer hair, a set of teeth with more sparkle. I lived for the early material though, shoving my camera away to just give in to this elation.

And, so I didn’t get that one album I wanted from the merch table. I also was too close to the band, and it would have been really nice to have a wider angle lens to take better photos.

I got this though:

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