Well, BD billed it as one hell of a show, and that it was! I have to admit I was a little concerned before that the Yugong Yishan curse would strike again, but the someone has done something to that sound system, because it was pumping last night! My buddy S joined me for this one, very excited to be seeing Rustic for the first time (I think I’ve talked them up a lot!) and she was not disappointed. Looking back on my notes the thing that pops up is “High Kicks – Not Entirely Appropriate!” It seems the theme of the night was pants – or lack of, but more about that later ….
First up Mister Graceless, a tight 3 piece, with bass and lead guitarists alternating the vocals. I hadn’t heard of these guys before, they’re are good, but a little to formulaic for my tastes. S and I found ourselves each song saying, “Oh, this sounds like … (insert band name here)”. The bass player was much more confident in his abilities, but the lead guitarist (who actually had a better voice) spent most of the set looking at his feet, or with his back to the audience. These guys sing in English, which is not something I generally like with Chinese bands, but they managed to pull it off quite well including S’s favorite line of the night “Dirty things gonna drive you better”. They ended the set with an awesome instrumental. I’m going to keep my eye on these guys, if they over the confidence issues they could be great.
Rustic may have been second on the bill of 4 bands, but they totally stole the show. Bass player Ricky has been known to spit the crouch of his leather pants doing high kicks in the past, so tonight he avoided that but simply wearing crouchless pants. Red leather, laced at the side, crouchless pants (or chaps, if you’re American). These boys ooze confide, and Ricky was kicking his leg as high as possible, proudly displaying his black G-String and left butt cheek. Lucifer joined in on the act playing his guitar between Ricky’s legs.
And the music, well, it’s what we’ve come to expect from these guys, the hard, fast, loud, punk. that helped them win the Global Battle of the Bands in the UK earlier this year. They played their own originals (sweetly introduced by Lucifier, who makes Chinglish sound so sexy!) and a couple of covers. The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the PRC, really got the crowd moshing. And Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, sung by Ricky and dedicated to Peter, a friend and great supporter of the band (and gig buddy of mine & BD’s) who is leaving China in the next few days.
Next up, AV Akubo from Wuhan, by way of Austin, Texas. These guys were a standout for me at Strawberry this year, so I can keen to hear them again. They continued the pants theme of the night, with drummer Hu Juan wearing hot pants, bass player Zuo Yi in red “spray-on” tight pants and the lead guitarist Tan Chao wearing boxer shorts and thongs (or jandals, or flip flops, or whatever you want to call them!) These guys have their own brand of new wave, experimental, disco punk. The vocals coming from the keyboardist Lu Yan, are heavily distorted and sometimes delivered through a bull horn. There was plenty of dancing, moshing and head banging in the crowd during this set. These guys were written up in an American music magazine as the next big thing after their trip to SXSW earlier this year, I for one am hoping they will be the next Chinese band to make it big outside the GFW. Musically they are much more talented than some of the other bands on the Maybe Mars label.
24 hours finished the show with, but failed to live up the high standards set by the previous bands. Lead singer Zhang Chen has been struck by the screaming girl syndrome, something I am not a fan of. Their Myspace page says “They like catchy tunes, carefree melodies, punchy rhythms and whimsical pop style.” Well, if you can call screaming over pounding drums and bass and screeching guitar, whimsical, then we must have a different understanding of that word! S & I actually left half-way through the set, as did a lot of the crowd. But I am glad they were on at the end, not sure I could have listened to the whole set if it was earlier in the show.
So, that was the second installment of Zippo Hot Nights, so hot half the bands weren’t wearing any pants! I’m waiting expectantly to see who’s on the line up for the next show!