This past sunday marked the debut of GAWTMY V. 2.0 with a new lineup to make up for the departure of some members. It also marked my first time visiting Jianghu Jiu Ba, a favorite amongst musicians in Beijing for their cozy and intimate feel.
The new Girls:
So, the Girls lost 3 members and gained 4! They lost a Ukelele and gained a banjo. They have also lost that special distinction of being a “no-guitar-band” with the addition of a permanent guitar player.
I was looking forward to the show as i had had a preview of the new sound during their last show when Aaron Rossa stepped on stage and took over for Natan during “Zombie Girl”. I was mostly right!
The show kicked off with Majestic Tree and Fortune Teller, 2 of my favorite songs off of their record and moved on through their catalog. They ended the show on a high with Early Findings and Zombie Girl.
The room as well as the whole place was packed.. and i mean packed with a mix of foreigners and locals alike. it had fire hazard written all over it but somehow, no problems came about.
What was interesting is that about halfway through the gig, a male audience member became frustrated at some lady next to him and mentioned in no uncertain terms that she was to either shut up or get the F out of there. The exchange went on for 2 mn with various obscenities in the most nonchalant of ways.. it was surreal! in other places/bars, this would have escalated in no time.
Back to the show for a second! Are some thoughts:
1- Uptempo songs are great for Aaron’s voice, higher ones not so much! I noticed a few key changes here and there to deal with that.
2- Making “across green fields” a duet rocks! They needed a cheat sheet on this round but Kirsten’s voice can carry the high notes.
3- There was so much girl power that we lost electricity twice… too much for that poor place to handle
4- Get the guitar higher! There was a point after the power failure where we heard it and it came through nicely but it felt muted most of the time.
5- The songs do work on banjo and the Banjo player has stage presence.. that said, the stage was too small and he looked like he would skewer Michelle anytime he didn’t pay attention
6- I am still amazed that they managed to fit 8 band members and about 30 audience in a room about the size of Yugong Yishan’s stage
7- Aaron’s mic need to be louder.. not sure if it was a setting or a just technical problem. there was a few times when we couldn’t hear him
8- maybe, just maybe add a cover halfway through the show: energy levels go down substantially in the midway as the audience looses focus
9- The little latin keyboard infusion during zombie girl was just pure pure fun.. took everyone by surprise including some band members.. love it!
Overall, a great show with the expected hiccups! I’m looking forward to seeing these girls grow up and throw even more wrinkles on their songs. They get very little time to practice as they’re due to play at 2kolegas this coming Friday.