The White Eyes invade Beijing & outplay the Men of Steel at Mao
I heard rumors of this crazy Taiwanese band a few weeks ago from the good folks at Kungfuology and decided to keep an eye out for their Beijing show which i mistakenly wrote down as being on April 17. As I shuffled through Mao Live’s website, I saw their listing for last night and I just had to get over there no matter what. It was to be “Female Punks” Vs. “Men of Steel” : A midweek Rock-off with Taiwanese band the White Eyes in the blue corner and Beijing’s Steely Heart, me 灌me & the Dancers in the red corner.
Show started a bit early and i caught the latter part of me 灌me which was alright.. the performance was navigating clear water of inoffensiveness! That’s not a bad thing in Beijing!
Steely Heart was up next, holding the mantle for the Men of Steel (insert virility-related joke here.) It was my first time seeing these guys and I came out fairly impressed with their musical ability. The crowd at Mao was really into them and they have one interesting guitar player in there.. the kid had more energy than the rest of the band combined!
As a unit, Steely Heart performed well but their lead singer seemed quite uninspired at times, as if going through the motions. During one or two songs though, he came alive and showcased his potential. I’ll definitely be interested in seeing them again but i won’t go out of my way for it.
Finally, it was time for the headliners, holding the torch for Female Punk: The White Eyes! Still confused as to how a band made up of 3 men and 1 woman can represent females but hey, TIFC so who said things had to make sense?
As the band launched into their opening notes, Xiao Gao (singer) ran out from backstage and caused half the crowd to go WTF (in Chinese though)… Words can’t quite describe the reaction but her outfit was amazingly done and in the dim lights of Mao Live it looked as if there was bush sighting!
The band ripped through 9 songs, all high energy and displayed an amazing musical ability as well as great onstage chemistry. The songs were highly reminiscent of Sonic Youth with heavy punk edge and the clear stand out of the night was a song called No No No off of their latest album and available on douban for a listen.
I stand corrected on this next part by Gao Gao herself.. The song which we thought was 爱上海 is actually “愛傷害”(Love Hurts)..
There was a bit of an awkward moment when Xiao Gao announced their song “爱上海” (love Shanghai) with the crowd going quiet for a while…. good go Beijing, stand for yourself!!
To say that i was positively blown out would be an understatement!
yes, there was the gimmicky side of things with the outfit that Xiao Gao was wearing but the show itself was amazing regardless! The songs, the stage antics, the jumps and rolls, and the level of enjoyment that you could see on the band’s face! It was clear that the madness and the antics were not rehearsed, just genuinely fun! The Rock-Off was a no-contest and The White Eyes won it hands down!
Alas, the show ended and we had to scatter away ( or get back to work as was the case for yours truly) but i did snag their 2 CDs which were priced at a reasonable 30RMB or 2 for 50. I also had a little chat with their manager “Lemon” who explained that they only had this one date booked but they would be in Beijing until almost end of April. So if you’re a music promoter reading this, you could do alot worse than look up these kids and book them for a few dates in Beijing. Honestly, last time I was this impressed was the first time I saw ZIYO play…. The White Eyes are just as good and while Xiao Gao might not be as talented as Helen Feng, She can definitely give her a run for her money when in comes to performing. It’s a shame the show didn’t get more of a push and happened on a wednesday night.
If this is a small example of what that little island across the strait has to offer as underground music, I must say that they are clearly ahead of the mainland! Beijing underground live, you’re put under notice!