Shanghai 24/7 launch, Yuyintang
I was actually thinking of going to see Shanren on Friday night and check out the new MAO Livehouse, but then I bumped into Ho-Tom The Conqueror at lunch time and he reminded me that he was on the bill for the Shanghai 24/7 thing so I ended up going to watch the same bands that I always watch at the same venue I always go to. Or at least, that's how it looked on paper. The night actually ended up having a surprisingly fresh feel to it.
Of course there's the new Yuyintang, but after a few gigs there now I can't claim not to be used to the refurbishments any more. It was more to do with the bands. Ho-Tom himself kicked off and was joined not only by regular conquering companions Franco and George, but also by the full Song Dynasty line-up. It's the first time I've seen him with a full band backing like that and he made the most of it, playing the longest set I've seen him do at Yuyintang. The full band brought something different to his songs and the crowd got into it too. Word is they're all recording some songs together so, though it'll be a few months yet, I'm looking forward to that one.
X is Y were up next and seem to be playing all their songs in double time these days. They certainly have a lot more energy and punchiness (for want of a better word) about them. Their set got off to a flyer and didn't really look back, with people jumping around again (which as Mr Fossy noted the other day was something that didn't really happen much before at X is Y gigs). Of course, despite the new energy to their set, the songs are still notably X is Y tracks, which is a good thing - I just feel like they've found a new balance to their sound that is working really well for them at the moment.
X is Y's progression to this new sound doesn't seem all that huge though in comparison to the band who followed them Duck Fight Goose. This was the first time that I'd seen DFG since their CD release where there was a distinct difference between the first half of their set and the second. This time round, the songs from Flow were dispensed with entirely to make way for a set with a new sound. It's going to take me a while to get used to the new songs - I often find it hard to judge tracks on just one listen - but having said that I did enjoy the new material and it'll be interesting to see where they take it from here.
That left Boys Climbing Ropes to close the night out. They seemed to play a fairly short set, presumably because this was a four band show and it was already getting on pretty late. Or maybe they just all really like Paul Kalkbrenner. They played a couple of classics, but they too have a bunch of new songs now that they seem to have got down and hopefully they can get those recorded soon as well.
All in all, it was a good night and I'm sure there'll be a bunch of videos, photos and other stuff on the Shanghai 24/7 website itself soon.
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