It’s been around 8 months since I last saw AIS play, but the long awaited (for me at least!) reunion of last year’s China GBoB winning band finally happened last Saturday at Yugong Yishan, with their friends Bye, Bye Thanks for the Fish and Flaming Heat in support. Even Shanghai’s intriguing performance noise band Torturing Nurse playing a rare Beijing show in my hood couldn’t keep me away from this one!
Bye Bye, Thanks for the Fish (or SUBS minus Carl) opened the night with their soft and subtle folk tunes. I’ve seen them quite a few times over the last year and really like this softer side which shows off Kang Mao’s beautiful voice. It’s tough not only as an opening act, but also a folk one at Yugong to make yourself heard over the chatter at the bar and I keep thinking these guys would be much better suited to a more intimate venue like Jianghu or JiangJinJiu.
Flaming Heat, the new project from ex-Rustic bass player Ricky Sixx was up next. I haven’t seen these guys before, and 80’s rock is more BD’s scene than mine, but I have to say they are fun to watch! Ricky’s lost none of his Rustic stage antics and his new sidekick on guitar is happy to join in without stealing the limelight. Not sure what’s being left on drumkits in this city, but drummers seem to be the happiest guys around these days grinning and laughing away during shows and this guy was no exception! Musically they’ve pretty fresh and could use some time to tighten up as a band, but there’s definitely promise. The middle of the set saw the guitarist sit out, the drummer move to keyboards and Ricky belted out a couple of 80’s ballads, showing he’s not all just high kicks and screams, he’s got a decent set of pipes on him as well!
Finally AIS took the stage to a good size crowd considering there were quite a few big shows on that night. Mid 2011 saw the band release their debut EP, then take a break to focus on other things, but just a few weeks ago they got back into the rehearsal rooms and are now ready to get back to where they left off last year. I was impressed to see they’re still as tight as always, stopping and starting together mid song without missing a beat. The guys all looked happy to be back on stage as well sporting huge grins, and entertaining us with their usual between song banter. The sound at Yugong was loud, but not overbearing and everyone seemed to be getting into it with some dancing going on in the middle of the crowd. I was there with a couple of friends who hadn’t seen AIS before, and by the end of the set they were both planning to check them out again this weekend at 2 Kolegas, as am I, happy to have my favourite Beijing band back on the scene!
If you missed AIS Returns Part I, you can catch Part II this Friday at 2 Kolegas, with the strange choices of Me Too and Abominati warming up the crowd!