Defy live @ Yuyintang
This post has been slightly delayed due to whatever it is that goes wrong with Shanghai Online's dns that makes access pop on and off at times. Of course, once this post is no longer the latest one then the previous statement becomes meaningless. And so begins the triple preface. Oh yes.
This second preface is a preface to the third and final preface to the post. Let me say that again ... preface. So, this post's preface mentions 'kung fu'. Kung fu is the only thing in my life that takes up even more time than music, but I almost never mention it in this blog because of the standard responses to mention of kung fu. The most common being a variation on either "I'm a black belt in Karate" or "Let me tell you why martial art X is superior to martial art Y". In the latter, Y is equal to whatever art you said you do. If you're really lucky you might get the bonus response, a lengthy explanation of mystical Qi powers or any standard variation on "I know a really really old weak looking guy who can blow you across the room with two fingers using magic." I've heard them all, if any one puts any of these in the comments on this post then they get the answer to fourth and final standard response to mention of kung fu, "Show me a move." The answer being "no".
And now the preface. This review may not be entirely accurate. Prior to attending the show I had been on a public holiday during which our kung fu class met every day. During the show I felt like I had hot pins stuck between my shoulder blades and also in my knees. I was so tired physically that I found it almost impossible to concentrate long enough to link up simple pairs of events. Like a question and its answer. I spoke to several people there, but have little memory of what it was about and tried to get by with use of the repeating the question in the form of an answer dodge.
So, Yuyintang was strangely quiet around the advertised starting time of nine. And by that I mean it was the staff ... and me. What could it mean? Yuyintang gigs are usually full of locals who are early birds. As people started to trickle in it became apparent that it was going to be one of those pretty much all ex-pats shows. Party going ex-pats tend to come late, you see. Don't ask why, I have no idea. Anyway, no big problems there. Well done everyone for supporting local music.
First up was Sonnet. This band have been split for a while and have just got back together. They are a choppy guitar sound indie-rock band, not far away in style from TooKoo, who are well good. Here's the link for TooKoo's last show I went too, here. Sonnet do things a little bit differently, during one song they alternated between live drums and a drum machine. They seemed to have some early problems with the sound mix and when I turned around to look at the desk - there was no one there. Here's what happens in a resource-light underground scene with average equipment when someone isn't right there really taking care of the sound ... it sucks incredibly and sabotages the show.
And on that point, it took Defy three aborted attempts to get their show started. The main vocal mic had either a dodgy cable or socket and was cutting out all show. It had to be continually moved just a little bit to that position where it didn't cut out. And this continued with no moves to try and replace it or anything sensible like that - that would be too easy. When they finally got going, the band weren't half bad. Defy traded in their punk style for rockabilly, with a double bass and everything. However, this was not psychobilly it was just straight up 50s rock. Once they had gotten through a song without tech problems, they got things going with a straight cover of Elvis' Hound Dog.
It was at this point that I looked around. I was standing in a room full of assorted ex-pats who were mainly non-rock/indie people - and they were dancing to Elvis. I left. I must admit the fatigue played a large part.
A quick mention. That night was also the first show put on by Brad Ferguson over at Anar Bar. The band was reggae act Wang Lei, who I'll see at Yuyintang in the near future. I'm a bit skeptical about the venue as it's kind of a back room in a restaurant. But, I will endeavor to check it out firsthand as soon as possible.
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