The turn out was a little disappointing. These shows are never going to draw massive crowds unfortunately, but the last few have been pretty busy and, especially as this was at MAO, the place seemed a little empty. Still, you know that whoever does show up to these gigs is going to be dedicated to the cause and so it proved with the numbers staying pretty much the same throughout the night (i.e. avoiding the usual 11pm drift away).
They saw FAF kick things off with their tight set of emo-pop. I say emo-pop, because Xiao Ding Ding's vocals at times are like those from a pop song (by which I mean he has a great singing voice) and that the tunes are catchy as fuck. In short, they're great. They're a really tight outfit now and have put together a strong set, which on Saturday featured a new track. The sound was good and the guy who plays keyboards and does all the screamy bits was on good form too. I remember Sam (Dust, the organiser of Hell United) telling me a few weeks ago that he knew FAF weren't really metal, but that he wanted them to play because they were just so damn good. He's right and, though I felt Saturday wasn't quite their strongest showing, they confirmed their status as one of the best new bands around at the moment.
Next up were the first out of town act, From the Red. I hadn't seen these guys before, but I left thoroughly impressed by them and they were perhaps the highlight of the night for me (although that might just have been because I'd seen FAF, Six Shot and Chaos Mind a bunch of times before). They've just released an EP - Lost in City Lightz - and if you can track it down somehow, I suggest you get it. In the meantime, you can check them out on the Douban with that link at the top of the page. Their set was really strong, the songs were great and they had some great on stage moments including their legs akimbo, guitars slung below the crotch, whirlwind head banging sessions.
Chaos Mind took the next slot and, though as I said before the late night drift away wasn't as big as it usually is, they probably played to the biggest crowd. Good for them - they deserve it. Certainly Sam, the frontman does, this was his brainchild after all and, now that they're looking for a new guitarist, he's been pretty much the one constant in the band in the last couple of years. They were on top form with Sam striding around the stage with authority as he always does and delivering the classics in style.
Finally came October Capricorn, up from Hangzhou, and another highlight of the night. I think it's fair to say that the metal scene isn't exactly huge in Hangzhou, but these guys were a polished act with a great stage presence and they played another strong set, rounding off the night nicely.