When Yennung handed me over my gig ticket last Sunday, the big relief that came wasn’t the overwhelming sort, maybe because the physical fatigue I’ve went through to be there (spent the night at the airport for an early morning Shanghai to HK to Taipei flight the day before) was still very present. More than a week ago, Yennung was an internet stranger who heeded my call when I showed interest in going to a concert in Taipei by posting on a Facebook fanclub. I wasn’t asking for anything specifically, but about 2 days after we chatted, I was looking at a photo of an electronically printed piece of paper that, figuratively, had my name on it.
December’s birthday trip was spent at Anhui Province, a few hours from Shanghai. Boarded a fast train, and the last 1/3 of the ride was done backwards, like we lost our way. I spent a day at Xidi Ancient Town, where I was lead to based on the premise that it was a nice place to take photographs, and that it was the second most touristy ancient town in the area, and therein strikes a good-enough balance for me. Worth going to? Good side-trip, good for an afternoon, but the place is dead after sunset, and I didn’t sense any promise of shooting at night.
The year 2016 wasn’t much of a change from the routine. I watched the usual post-rock shows, but had on normal listening rotation a thing, this thing that I didn’t get into because I’m into music that just should not be regular, or even hip. There was simply an invisible hand, a gravitation towards it. There’s no definitive tag to it, so let’s give it the loose term it’s been given by fellow fans: alt-idol.
Part 1 here.
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.
There were too many gigs to specify and put on the post title, hence a “big four” reference came to mind. There was no intent to be definitive at all using it, and sure, it is a slight overreach, but, see, I just saw these giants of Japanese modern instrumental rock for the last quarter of 2016, in my immediate neighbourhood: Mono, World’s End Girlfriend, te’, and toe.
I’ll start with Mono -a band I’ve already seen twice- and toe, another band I’ve seen once before, and they also chose a Shanghai show that falls on my birthday.