One Lick Less returns with more French ‘mutant blues’
While most of the city’s music fans were dancing along to Hanggai’s drinking song at the drive-in, I was one of a few people at probably the weekend’s most underrated show – One Lick Less at XP. I saw One Lick Less’s Julien Bancilhon 2 years ago in Shanghai, and enjoyed it so much I made the trek out to D22 by myself to see him again a week later (for someone who averaged 3 D22 nights a year, that’s a big thing!) This year he’s back for his 3rd China tour and I actually didn’t know about it until I saw Pangbianr’s great interview with him earlier in the week. The show also evaded everyone else’s attention only being mentioned in passing in one of the city’s numerous ‘weekend roundups’.
I got to XP around 10ish to find the opening band The Last Three Minutes just finishing their sound-check and a dismal crowd of maybe 20 people, most of whom seemed to be friends of the bands. The Last Three Minutes are a new/old band, having been around in various forms for around 10 years, but this was I believe their second show back after a 2 year hiatus. They only played a few songs, but I really liked what I heard. Funky bass lines played by Li Yong, who was previously with The Power Powder, that Stones-eque band that everyone, including BD, seems to be in love with right now (personally I don’t get them, if I wanna listen to the Stones, then I’ll listen to the Stones) Drummer Tian YuYang is also the new drummer for Illness Sickness, a great post rock band that emerged last year before losing their original drummer 6 months ago, really looking forward to seeing them playing again soon. The only original band member, guitarist/singer Wang WeiWei, ties the band together with growling vocals and leads constant tempo changes. Check out some of their music on their douban, I really like the song 铅笔. I hope other band commitments don’t get in the way of The Last Three Minutes this time, because I’d really like to see more from them!
Glow Curve, my favourite post rock band currently performing in Beijing were up next. I’ve written about these guys before, they’ve been playing a lot recently, opening for touring bands and doing lot’s little local shows as well and they just never disappoint. Their album was one of my favourite releases last year, although it was funny to watch BD in pain while trying to review it, haha, post rock is not for everyone! They’ve recently changed drummers, and the last few times I’ve seen them the sets have been mainly new songs which are starting to sound really good, so I’m hoping they’ll be in the studio soon for a new album.
Last time I saw One Lick Less, it was just Julien and his home-made lap steel guitar, this tour he’s joined by friend Basile Ferriot on drums. XP was the perfect setting for these two to play, the intimate venue with low stage meaning you could get close to see what their were doing, which was pretty damn fascinating. Basile brought his modified drum kit to the front of the stage, he uses a floor tom as a bass drum with the pedal underneath it. He was intriguing to watch, not hitting straight up and down like most drummers, but from side to side as if he was dancing with the drumkit. At one point he put his drumstick in his mouth, pulled out a violin bow and drew it across the edge of the drums. Julien played a new guitar he just finishing building before arriving in China as well a regular guitar, alternating between the two for different songs. Their music is hard to classify, with the lap steel it is based in blues, but has elements of other genres like jazz, noise and prog rock built in, mixed in with unusual time signatures, and compositions, but they’re calling it ‘mutant blues’ which seems quite fitting. You can listen to their latest album (and download it) on their bandcamp. They’ll be back in Beijing for the last show of the tour at Old What bar on August 4th, with Chuiwan.