The last time I saw Hedgehog was at D-22, at an epic night of revelry in celebration of expat duo Hot & Cold’s time in Beijing and to see them off. They played to a large enough crowd, though they (and Carsick Cars) were meant to be a “secret act,” and it was a decent show. They even got quirky violinist Yan Yulong to play with them. The time before that, I got to see them play a seriously secret set at Old What? Bar, which felt like I imagine their early days in the scene did: around fifty people crammed in a room the size of a someone’s living room, watching an awesome band play a bunch of songs.
This show was completely different. By the time I got there (admittedly late), Yugong Yishan was entirely packed. Not quite Huun Huur Tu packed, but jam-packed at least three rows behind the sound stage, and there was no way you were getting downstairs into the mosh. Hedgehog had only just started (by my calculations from the set list on the sound desk), and they played everything. It was almost a retrospective, from their xylophone-brightness of their 2007 “Toy & 61 Festival” (玩具和61儿童节), through their Blue Daydream days, and all the way to this year’s Honeyed & Killed. It wasn’t a goodbye, of course, but it was very reflective of them, which makes sense considering the epic year they’ve had, and the year they have ahead of them.
The crowd was, naturally, completely into it. For 80RMB per ticket, you really got the fans who love them, and it was clear with the amount of crowd surfing that went on. If there are going to be crowd surfers at a show, there’s usually only one or two souls brave enough to go through with it, and they usually only attempt it once. This time, there were at least five different people crowd surfing, with as many as three people trying to be held up at once. It was a little insane, and of course nobody was sustained for very long, but everyone seemed to tolerate it. Still, I felt like someone should have told them that even the biggest crowds can’t hold more than two, and certainly not the crowd at Yugong Yishan. Anyway, everyone was having a great time and it made the band play even more energetically than usual. The bass player — new to Hedgehog this year but instantly part of the family — was particularly into it, which was nice to see.
And finally, at the end of my time at the show (places to be, people to see, you know how it is), the adorable pint-sized drum-smasher Atom played us a song all on her lonesome. She was alone on stage with a keyboard and her high-pitched voice, but unfortunately the song itself fairly unmemorable — apart from her mic falling down a few times.
Overall it was a great show. Though I was a big fan of their earlier work, I’m really digging grown up Hedgehog, and I can’t wait to hear what they’ve got for us next. Apparently there’s a new album in the works, to be released in the spring, and I’m excited to hear what they came back from the US.