It almost goes without saying, but this Friday was a big one. There were some heavy hitters playing around the city — Chunqiu were out on Jiuguloujie, Hanggai hit Mako, and just next door at Studio X in Fangjia 46 Re-TROS was playing a Converse industry event with LA group Health. But I was at the cosy little Hot Cat Club at a free show with three bands that largely get blank stares when mentioned in mixed company. But I was there for Residence A, my love affair with whom has been well documented on this site and in person if I am in the same room when someone mentions their name, and nothing was going to pull me away from this show.
Not even the mediocre opening acts.
Okay, mediocre is a bit strong. Miss Freak, the first act up, were just really green. They played the style of indie pop-rock that I’m a big fan of, but they have a long way before they can garner as many fans as, say, Super VC, whose style they were very clearly ripping off (which is, in turn, a total rip-off of The Beatles, but that’s neither here nor there). I think that if they keep playing, and relax a little about their on-stage image, and play around a little with their style, they could be great. At the moment, their music is fun and danceable but as an opening act at a tiny venue nobody’s going to bust a move.
I was intrigued to see Christmas. Last year, I posted their video and lyrics to a catchy song they wrote called Lajitong (just saying the title gets the song wedged in my head, no joke), and though they play constantly around the city, I’ve never found myself at a gig they were playing. And really, I can’t call these guys mediocre either. They’re great at what they do, and that is sing catchy indie pop songs in Chinese. The local crowd loves them, I think for the novelty of having foreigners singing in Chinese, and I must admit… they’re all catchy. The lyrics are simple and easy to follow for students of Chinese, and there’s not a ballad in the mix to bring down the mood. They’re incredible performers and really worked the crowd. For me, though, there was only so much I could take before I had to take a break outside.
And finally, there was Residence A. I agree with Ruby, the stage at Hot Cat seemed almost too small for them, but I was definitely more than thrilled to be able to see the performance up close and personal. Although, I will admit, it did allow his crazy stares to fix on the audience and that was just a little too creepy. I felt like I was having a staring contest with a crazy person. But the performance was great, even with a switch up of their bass player (apparently from Me Too, who I saw once a year ago at D-22), and I really enjoyed myself. I don’t think I can say it enough: if you haven’t, get out to see them. You will not regret it.