A snuck-in photo from the Mark Kozelek gig. Never had been so glad to have ISO6400, and a DSLR swivel screen.
Back in the 90s, I collected tapes. I took pride in my tape collection, some of what I had were locally released, but hard enough to find. CD’s? I had a few. One of them was the Retrospective record from The Red House Painters. See, I had a 4AD records period. I had Pixies’ Doolittle, Cocteau Twins’ Victorialand. Radio didn’t play any of these, so that Red House Painters was a blind buy, a really good one. It was on sale at CD Warehouse, when they still had a shop atop SM Megamall.
I loved the record, but I didn’t consume it as a whole. Once I had the chance to listen to some other songs from other albums, I had considered myself a fan. So, when news got to me that Mark Kozelek (who lead Red House Painters) had a solo gig last Sunday over here in Shanghai, I tried to listen to the newer Sun Kil Moon material, just so I wouldn’t be left out. This wasn’t a Red House Painters retrospective gig, so I could only hope as much that the old stuff will be played.
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.
Music festival season is over (AFAIK) over here, and I upped myself this year by going to two, concluding with this multi-stage Strawberry Music Festival.
The venue was at World Expo Park, and upon realizing that, I knew another thing I could do: I could bike-ride myself there. I did, and for two days of this three-day event, I went, lugging the fairly unused Canon 60D on my first day (April 29), and the new Lumix GF3 on the second (April 30).
Sure, the gig photography diet was something I have been deprived of for some time, and it had been part of my balikbayan itinerary to catch a few favorites again.
One thing I tend to miss when shooting gigs is a great chunk of the live performance experience. I’ve seen Oremuz play a few times before, but this is the first time I can wholeheartedly state that this is one world-class act. I cannot find anything to nitpick about them, and their music. Right after their set, I was approached by one of the vocalists, Shekhinah, about the possibility of exchanging contact information so I can share the shots I took, and I told her that their bassist, Russel, already messaged me inquiring about getting copies of photos I’ve taken of them since. I blamed my current OFW state for the delay in fulfilling their request. Later on, Russel asked me if I could tag along to any of their gigs, then I mentioned my being China-based, and she was quick to ask if I could the same, if ever they play in China.
I started listening to Envy back in 2007 (proof!; albeit in a not-so-great light), and when doing random searching lead me to this page, I shot an email and had my tickets reserved. This was bound to be AWESOME
And about 40 people believed that, too. I’m a little sure though that some were just curious, and wouldn’t mind spending 200RMB on some visiting Japanese rock band.