I found myself in Yiwu on Saturday night (don't ask) and thus missed this little beauty, which was a shame. Not that I went without entertainment. I hadn't really planned it, but I found out that Top Floor Circus were coincidentally in town that night too and playing at a place called Gebi Bar so I got in a taxi and went hunting for it.
A little way out of the town centre, Gebi is a collection of former temple buildings with the largest converted into a bar and performance space. Small pavilions are located next door, but these days it's not quite as tranquil a place as it perhaps once was - especially when Top Floor Circus have packed the house out.
When I got there, they were already part way through their opening song, but they basically played all of their album 13 Songs and the crowd lapped it up. It was interesting seeing Top Floor Circus outside of their native Shanghai - I've always been curious about the reverence they largely receive in Beijing, despite being not only a Shanghai band but one that sings almost exclusively in the local dialect.
Despite singing in Shanghainese, Lu Chen spoke in Mandarin between songs and was careful to explain what they were about. Not all of the crowd understood Shanghainese, but many knew the songs regardless and certainly enjoyed the sentiment. Beside the pure linguistics, the band were just as entertaining as always. Lu said to me afterwards that he felt the venue was well suited to them as a band - just really straightforward and fun - and he was right. Mei Er got through three guitars (one his own, two borrowed) and Lu's mic kept breaking, but it didn't really matter, the crowd (many of them dressed in '你信不信，反正我信' t-shirts) loved every minute of it.
They capped it all off with an old favourite - GG Allin's 'Bite It You Scum' - and sent everyone home happy. It was one of the best gigs I've been to in ages.