Hello Awesome Album, Bye Bye Bass: Wu & The Side Effects Album Launch
2 Kolegas has become one of my favourite music venues in this city, with it’s earsplitting sound system, chilled outdoor area and tasty chuan’r. They’re even catering for the football fans with a big screen showing all the games for the next few weeks. After noise-control regulations stopped Wu & The Side Effects from playing outside last weekend, I’ve been waiting not so patiently all week for their album release gig. But sadly what should have been a night of celebration was marred being bassist Checo’s last gig with the boys before heading back to the US.
To escape last weekend’s noise issues, this week the music moved back inside. This venue is notorious for it’s late starts and true to form the night kicked off around 11pm with Amazing Insurance Salesmen. You’ve probably seen Jean-Sébastien around town in one of his many (is it 5 now?) bands. Tonight he was wearing his rock guise, joined by Maikel on bass and MaoMao on drums. They played nearly an hour of their blues driven rock, including the extended jams and solos I’ve come to expect from them. A little birdy told me these guys are heading into the studio and we should see an album release before the end of the summer. I’m really looking forward to hearing how they’ll condense their free-flowing jams into the album format.
I don’t get what was up with the crowd tonight? There were a decent size group watching, but they just didn’t seem to be getting into the music? Just standing around like wallflowers at the edges of the room with their drinks. Maybe because they were the first band, maybe they hadn’t seen these guys before, maybe the football was distracting? Who knows, but the crowd was somewhat subdued compared to the last times I’ve seen these guys play.
The boys of the night, Wu & The Side Effects took to the stage next. I was lucky enough to get my hands on their new album a couple of weeks ago to help BD out with a totally biased review. I love the album and have been hanging out to see it performed live. These guys are known their for huge stage presence, they really know how to use every inch of the stage and Wu and Checo barely stood still the whole set. They gave us exactly we’ve come to love from these guys, classic, dirty, bluesy grooves, sexy growling vocals and constant tempo twists and turns. About halfway through, Mo ze German drummer treated the crowd to impressive drum solo, letting the boys out front chill for long enough to share a cigarette.
They played all my favourites from the album, Train, 天煞孤星 (Lonely Star) and Besieged On All Sides. The crowd were enthusiastically moshing along and heckling the band (Checo “Thanks for coming!” Fanboy “How do you know we’re coming?!” Checo “That’s right, you’re not yet!”) That is until they played the slower tune 自由填词时间 near the end of the set, when the crowd seemed to disappear outside. The tempo was amped up again on the last couple of songs, but the crowd barely returned. For me it was a disappointing end to what had up til then been an awesome set.
The Buyi boys were on hand to support their Ningxia brother Wu Kejia and the ended the night with their usual tight set. I’m a fan of these guys, but they’re not doing anything to grab my attention right now. Each time I see them it’s the same songs, and I just don’t see the passion and excitement in their faces I do with other bands in the city. Yeah, Ok, they have been around for 15 years, but that’s no excuse to let things slip. I’d like to see some new stuff from these guys sometime soon!
So in the transient nature of this city’s music scene another band has succumbed to losing one of it’s members heading home. I don’t know how they will replace Checo and I’m not sure they can. Let’s hope we see him back in the ‘Jing sometime soon! In the meantime check out the new album for 10 totally infectious psychedelic rock tunes that demand to be listened to turned up loud!