Live Music Review: Don’t Call Me Laowai or return of the Mao

To say that Mao Livehouse has been flying below the radar since it reopened a month or so ago would be an understatement: They’ve been keeping a low profile and not really advertising any of their gigs much as of late! So much that events that I would usually recommend have been neglected. Whatever their reason, I hope they get back to the top soon or….
This past sunday, after learning that a few favorites would be on the bill for their “Don’t Call Me Laowai” showcase, Ruby and myself decided to head over and see it with our own eyes.. while the bill was not made public til the show started, it consisted of Girls Are Waiting to Meet You, X-Doctor, Concrete Nothing, Amazing insurance Salesmen & You Mei You! This is one hell of a lineup considering I’ve paid plenty of times before to see one of these bands headline a gig. having them all on the same bill seemed like pretty darn good value.

I’ve been on 2 Kolegas schedule for so long I’m not used to shows starting on time which was -and still is- the norm at Mao Livehouse. We barely made it on time to catch Girls Are Waiting To Meet You!

I’ve written so much about GAWTMY by now, some readers might be sick of hearing their name… I’m not! I caught the band the previous evening at an outdoors charity gig (more in another post) where they sounded horrible. They redeemed themselves on sunday with an amazing and inspired performance! They’ve added a new clarinette player that fills some of the void left by Adam’s departure. Despite the low turnout, the band played one hell of a gig. They sounded great at Mao… It’s a good place for them.

Up next was X-Doctor which is made of 2/3 of the Amazing Insurance Salesmen ( Michael & Mao Mao) with a different singer/guitar player. Some good riffs and melodies in this one but I was not big fan of the vocals..they just couldn’t match up to the intensity of the music until the last song. I chuck in down to personal preferences. They played a heavy-ish rock with great bass lines. Ruby did on the other hand like them a lot.

Up next was probably the friendliest looking death metal band in the world: Concrete Nothing. 4 lads that looked like they came out of an American Apparel commercial but sounded like the hounds of hell. It was brutal metal with a smile and lots of thank yous. A few friends on site were extremely impressed by the band and so was I. They did look a bit out of place when you take into account the rest of the bill but then again, so did GAWTMY. I’ll be catching up with these lads soon for some more info.

Michael and Mao Mao came back on stage albeit with a different singer/guitarist as part of The Amazing Insurance Salesmen with Jean Sebastien at the helm, much to Ruby’s liking! I’ve seen them a few times by now and they keep getting better with each performance. There’s some obvious chemistry between those 3 and on sunday night at Mao Live, it was a joy to see them and listen to them. I think they found a good balance at this point between the long instrumentals and the vocals. JSB was on fire chatting up the audience and displaying an intensity that I had not seen from him before! One hell of a performance from the trio..

Last but not least, You Mei You was up. I tease frontman Skip a lot because I’ve seen them play their last show under this name 2 times already. They’re supposedly changing the name to reflect their identity better! They didn’t waste anytime getting to the meat of things. Good old fashioned punk music that is unabashed and unspoiled… dirty, rough, sleazy and entertaining like you wouldn’t believe! I saw them before they went onstage and asked how they planned to top the Salesmen’s high octane gig…. Skip looked at me with a devilish smile at the time as if saying “you wait and see”… I waited and saw, I liked and I was rocked!

Overall, great evening and great lineup with tons of diversity! The 40+ crowd stuck around for all the bands and had fun. I’m hoping for the bands’ sake that Mao starts advertising a bit more so that they get more folks in the audience! The dungeon that is their stage area is too intimidating when there aren’t enough bodies there. Big props to the guys from GAWTMY who stuck around and were dancing up a storm enjoying the other acts… Adam got some moves!

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