Pairs, RDC, X is Y and BCR at Live Bar

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live bar feb 26 039.jpgThis was the best show I've been to in a while. Partly that's because there's not been much else going on recently, but mostly it was because this was four excellent bands playing a packed out venue and all were on top form. I've noted before that it takes a while to get to Live Bar if you live down town, but the new space is a vast improvement on the old one and this show was definitely worth the trip. Plenty of people made it too - the room was packed out from beginning to end and even the space outside the venue was fairly crowded with people.

That's not a big surprise really, given that four of the city's best bands were in attendance and the whole thing was free. Things kicked off with Pairs who were on fine form. They played a couple of new tracks and, though no five kuai notes were thrown, Xiao Zhong and F did have a bunch of flowers thrown at them part way through the set. Also, you might have read this article about how Xiao Zhong has always ripped off other bands when starting his own bands, but we found out on Saturday night that Pairs' 'I Want to Die in the Ocean' is actually a reworking of Arcade Fire's 'Wake Up'. Who knew?

Next up were Rainbow Danger Club who are warming up for their album release at the same venue on March 18. If you weren't already excited about that show, then Saturday night's performance should have put you in the right frame of mind. The band performed a rousing set, complete with reworked versions of 'Drown the Creatures' and 'Neighbours on the Rooftops', that had the crowd enraptured. By the time they rounded off with 'Enduring Love', couples were spontaneously dancing together at the front. They were outstanding and frankly a hard act to follow. And yet...
...then came X is Y. Morgan's written before about this band being something of a slow burner - not everyone got them at first, but they've been gradually building momentum. Saturday was the best performance I've seen from them to date. They played a bunch of new tracks, which will feature on their split record with Boys Climbing Ropes, as well as some of their older tracks from their free LP. But the main thing for me was that they seemed to have a different energy during the set and the crowd really responded to them. Unfortunately, things were so crowded by this point that I had to watch from the side of the stage, but even from there it was clear that people were loving them.

Which left the noisy Boys Climbing Ropes to round things off, which they did in style. I had to duck out part way through their set (I had my excuses), but not before I'd seen them play a couple of newer tracks (a very new one and the Mandarin-language one they've been doing for a while now) plus a few classics like 'Whale Song'. All in all, it was quite a night - it feels like gig season is back in full swing again.

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