Hang on the Box and Friends bring a bag of Mixed Tunes to Mao Live

Last saturday was one of those nights where it was really difficult to make a call on which gig to check out.. In the end, I figured I’ll catch Wu & The Side Effects soon enough and I couldn’t resist the temptation linked to Hang on the Box and Shanghai’s Stegosaurus?
I saw flashes of the old Gia at the HOTB appearance last month and I couldn’t wait to see if my statement of that night “The Bitch is Back” would prove right…. Stegosaurus? on the other hand, I never even heard of prior to getting an email from the band informing me that they would open for HTOB. a quick douban trip and a listen got me interested.

Show started kinda early for Mao with unannouced guests, The Ghost Spardac. I have never heard of them before but they were mildly interesting in their own little way… I couldn’t decide if they were heavy pop or soft trash but i did like a few of their songs. post-show research shows that the band has been around for a while and getting a decent following. The lead singer, Boxi, had some skills and decent energy. They’ll be back at Mao Live on November 5th along with Bigger Bang, both opening for Taipai’s The White Eyes.

Stegosaurus? were up next and someone forgot to tell them that it wasn’t Halloween yet as one of the members took the stage in a luchador outfit. What can i say about them? They’re fun, their sound is completely schizophrenic and they feel/behave like a modern version of Spinal Tap: There was a bit of rap, pop, rock, metal, headbanging, dancing, screaming, a lot of comedy and the list goes on! Apparently, all 5 band members bring songs into the fold and that’s how they get such a diverse sound.

They did play on a good set, swapped instruments a few times and got a pretty ok reception from an audience that’s never seen them before. You can judge the music for yourself by downloading their CD for free

Finally, it was time for HOTB.. Ruby at this point was rubbing in the fact that the Wu Show was great at Jianghu and I was hoping Gia and Co. would prove my decision right. truth be said, they started a bit shaky… I don’t know what it was but the first 3 songs just didn’t come right: vocals too high, guitar too low, fading in and out.. I wasn’t a happy camper at that point and contemplated walking out

and then, things got better! Gia loosened up as she launched into “my Apology” which was the highlight of the night. from there on, she could do no wrong! They went through the classics with her jumping around, laughing, cursing and niubi-ing her away around the stage much to everyone’s delight. I was standing next to Matt, from Dude, for most of the show and we both agreed that the princess of of beijing’s rock scene was back to claim her rightful spot. yes, it’s still a bit shaky but when she’s on fire, very few people can top Gia.

Great turnout on the evening, cool lineup of bands and shows with one strange little occurence: the heavy foreigner presence that day.. I swear there was just as many laowais as there were locals which is weird at Mao. Anyways, it was fun listening to something new and I look forward to checking out more Shanghai bands in the future… so far, Pinkberry was cool and Stegosaurus? fun… albeit in small doses.

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