Anyway, Xiao He's old friend Lu Chen opened the night with his Zhi Wang side project - minus Ba Fang again who I guess is still on her travels. The set consisted of a mixture of sounds, though most tracks had a clearly discernible rhythm and plenty of instrumentation helped by having a bassist and drum loops from the Macbook. With Lu Chen performing with his back to the audience, the band wove their way through a number of songs that I'd describe as offbeat more than experimental - including probably one of the most original covers of Billie Jean you're ever likely to hear. The best moment came when they ditched the Macbook drums for the real thing and everyone went all out on their instruments.
It'll be interesting to see how they develop, particularly when they have a full complement of members, and Lu Chen has talked about how he wants to take this group in a "more experimental" direction. For the moment, it seems as if they're still finding their way a bit.
The thing about Xiao He's performances is that they appear to be mostly improvised. They're not the sort of shows you go to hoping to hear your favourite song or to have some hits to sing along to (although at one point he did burst into a bit of Hallelujah as well as a classic Chinese ballads medley). His improvisations are long, meandering songs rather than three minute bursts of catchy pop and you therefore need a bit of stamina to get through them. Not that his shows aren't captivating, but the crowd did thin a little as the gig went on. Those who stuck with it witnessed a memorable performance however, with Xiao He demonstrating his full vocal range, a sharp wit and an incredible creativity in his use of self-sampling and the layering of his music.