Here's a paradox for you: I don't really like shouty rap-metal, but I really like The Mushrooms. It's odd and it means that I often seem like a hypocrite when talking about other bands, but if you see The Mushrooms perform live, then you get a pretty clear explanation. Take last night for example, they went on last in the double-header with Angry Jerks (which will be repeated in the Jerks' hometown of Nanjing in a few weeks) and brought the house down. If the Soma-produced Mushrooms album ever sees the light of day, it'll be interesting to see whether it can really capture the energy and atmosphere of their live shows (how do you really record the kind of performances that can bring band and audience members to tears?!). In the meantime, they remain one of the best live acts in the city.
They rounded off a night that had opened with Double Control Where. And this is where my hypocrisy comes in and I feel a bit guilty. They're good Double Control Where, they're just not really my thing. Yet they play a shouty-chorused metal that isn't a million miles away from the aforementioned headliners. Indeed, with the singer's bleached hair, they look a bit like a shanzhai version of The Mushrooms. That's no criticism - the band weren't purposefully ripping anyone off at all, they just looked a bit like them (mostly the hair). Anyway, they were a lively opening act and the crowd really got into it.
Second were on, err, second and this was the, ahem, second time I'd seen them. Sorry. UPDATE:I tell a lie, this was actually the third time I've seen them (caught them at the Shanghai Night Fever event last month too) rendering my lame puns even more pointless. I found myself a bit more engaged by them than last time and they gave a pretty strong performance. They're aren't many all-girl bands in Shanghai (though I'd say the gender balance on the scene is better than most, if far from equal) but Second eschew the cutesy pop-rock trappings that the other girl groups seem to go for and their show is all the stronger for it. They're not exactly Happy Strings (the punk outfit that became Momo) but it's refreshing to see an all-girl band that doesn't feel the need to go all shiny happy girly girl. If you know what I mean.
Next up were Angry Jerks. Dan Shapiro put up an excellent intro to the band over on CityWeekend so I won't try and imitate that, you can check it out here. In it, Dan mentions that the band had been through a rumoured breakup and line-up reshuffle before hitting town. That certainly seems the case - gone was the double-bass and gone too were (most of) the quiffs. That meant less psychobilly and more old school punk. It was a pretty tight set and a good show nonetheless and they got the crowd buzzing.
Which meant by the time The Mushrooms took to the stage, the atmosphere was perfect. I got right in at the front from the off and only emerged at the end of the set (by which point I was pretty disgusting). Lead singer Pu Pu's signature on MSN this morning is "I saw you crying" and I certainly spotted at least one girl in the audience next to me in tears. I wasn't quite that emotional, but I was certainly sucked in to the atmosphere of the show and it was another classic Mushrooms performance.