Lu Chen and Xiao He live @ Yuyintang
If anything, Lu Chen, formerly of Top Floor Circus, and Xiao He, formerly of Glorious Pharmacy, are not predictable. Tonight was no exception.
Xiao He is touring his solo show which is a multi-discipline avant-garde show that he developed from his many musical and visual influences. Lu Chen has also been striking out on his own with a show that is largely based in dramatic/comedy performance as much as it is music. The previous Lu Chen show at Yuyintang had been a hilarious routine featuring a showdown between the Ol*mp*c mascots and Haibao, mascot of the upcoming W*r*d Exp*. Check out the write up and the video.
So, the poster for the show featured Astro Boy and talk was of another dramatic extravaganza. But like I said, these guys are a touch unpredictable.
Arriving at the show I was surprised to see Ben Hogue who had blogged about going to see 10 play at Logo Bar. It turned out they made a last minute appearance at YYT which I came into right in the last minute. The billed show got going straight away with a short film. I heard they made a short film especially for the show. What I didn't realise was it that it was an actual film. That is, they projected a 40 minute indie short film where Lu Chen played a blind man visiting Shanghai. It was almost painfully slow and detailed in a near neo-realist sense but clearly intended to be Absurd. Without any kind of introduction or context at all, the audience didn't really get it until over half way through when Lu Chen's character was strumming a guitar and chanting without skill but it came out like a Buddhist mantra prompting another seemingly detached character to take him to Jing'an Temple.
After this, Lu Chen and Xiao He separately played straight forward music sets of regular songs. Lu Chen sat with his guitar and was backed by drums and bass. During his first track he used a lot of samples and effects too. I got close to the front and saw that the bassist had a Midi set up beside him that he was operating via some kind of Monome knock off. It was a great set. Xiao He just sang with guitar and no other back up at all. It was perhaps the most sober performance the two have ever put on - but a relief of sorts as these guys are among the top talents in China and you rarely get to hear a solid set of the music itself.
Me and the wife bumped into Lu Chen about half way through the Xiao He set and he told us that indeed they were not making any joint show and that once Xiao He was done his acoustic set, that was it. I left a little before the end to eat. I then got bored waiting for my food and was going through my camera pics, deleting old ones. Joy of joys, I lost concentration and deleted the excellent video I got of Lu Chen and the sole clear photo too. My bad. All in all a great night and a great atmosphere at YYT which seems to attract a good turnout and a quality event every weekend these days. Great to see Jake Newby there too, as well as brief meets with Dan from The Rogue Transmission and Morgan from BCR.
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