Gig Review: Nova Heart & Re-TROS @ Dos Kolegas, 2011.11.12
The wonderful thing about a show at Mako Livehouse is that it ends in enough time to get to the venues that start late and end later — namely, Dos Kolegas. By the time we’d snatched up a cab and gotten to Liangmaqiao, we caught one song of Candy Monster’s set and were able to get some beers before the double headliners took the stage. Thank you, Dos Kolegas.
But let’s get right to it. Nova Heart is the name of the ever-prolific Helen Feng’s newest project. If you don’t already know her name, Helen Feng helped create Pet Conspiracy, and is currently also involved in Free The Birds, who still haven’t decided if they’re called Ziyo or not. Somewhere between her involvement in artist promotions company Fake Music Media, hosting a Douban-hosted podcast based on her popular radio show, and a myriad other responsibilities, Nova Heart has burst onto the indie-electro scene with instant buzz. Being a fan of Free the Birds/Ziyo, I was excited to see Nova Heart and how it might be different. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really tell the difference. It’s clear that Helen is the driving force behind both groups, and there isn’t much of a clear difference in stance between the two. Nova Heart sounded to me like a more energetic Joy Division with female vocals, which was entertaining enough to get the crowd into it, but I would have liked to see some sort of difference — stylistic or otherwise — between this and FTB.
Finally, some time after midnight, and after a delicious bowl of Ningxia noodles (worth every fen of the 20RMB they cost), Re-TROS took to the stage. I have documented here my lukewarm feelings about Re-TROS, but to be fair I have only ever seen them at music festivals. I say this in defence of the fact that I really enjoyed their set at Dos Kolegas. I think the more intimate nature of the stage and venue made for a great performance — and one I could actually see and feel involved with. This doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and buy their album, because I still find their music a little too monotonous for constant listening, but I did enjoy them and I’ll be much more excited to see them if they keep playing smaller venues.