Xiao He and Zhi Wang, 696 Livehouse

| | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0)
4590470741_147b555f64.jpgIt's always a bit special when Xiao He comes to town and last night's gig up at 696 Livehouse was a bit more special than most. The man himself was on good form, but what made it truly memorable was the impromptu performance of some Top Floor Circus songs. I wrote earlier in the week that this wasn't going to be the show where Ding Ma would make a surprise return to playing live in the city. That was supposed to be another gig, but Lu Chen confirmed last night that it wouldn't be happening after all. 'Shanghai still doesn't welcome us,' he said before the gig, 'we're the Shanghai band who can't play in Shanghai.' Mei Er added that they were willing to play, but that venues were worried about getting in trouble with the authorities, before joking that they were going to start booking gigs around town just so that venues would pay them not to play. Despite such talk, a few hours later they ended up on stage playing a new Ding Ma song.

Zhi Wang, Lu Chen's other band, had opened the night. Their material is more experimental and involves the use of a Macbook and various computer-generated beats and effects. They've also added a new member following the departure of Ba Fang to Beijing. She's still on their forthcoming album however. They played a short set last night, with only four or five songs in total, although each song was admittedly around five minutes long.

Xiao He came on almost immediately afterwards. His shows are always unpredictable, but always entertaining. He started by playing a couple of his more well known songs, rather than out and out improvisation, which resulted in the crowd singing along to the choruses. the singalongs continued as he diverged into a medley of classic children's TV show theme tunes and other old favourites, before playing some less conventional material. He engaged the audience throughout, inviting their participation and trying out his few words of Shanghainese. At one point he made a few jokes about the Expo and welcomed everyone to the "696 pavilion". He soon invited Lu Chen to take the stage and "sing a Shanghai song."

As Xiao He took to the drums, Lu Chen asked for requests. Despite a few calls for it, he didn't play 'Shanghai Welcomes You', but did play a Top Floor Circus song. He then called on other members of the band to come up and join them. It wasn't a complete line-up, but four fifths of the band was enough for them to play a few Ding Ma tracks, including a brand new song. It was an unexpected but very welcome treat.

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Xiao He and Zhi Wang, 696 Livehouse.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.kungfuology.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/759


Very cool show, 之王 reminded me a of the Flaming Lips a little bit with the laptop sounds. They also reminded me how great Zen Arcade was.


Leave a comment