Yesterday I met up with some friends to go to a concert. Among them were Brad and Micah. We ate an early meal of sushi. The restaurant played Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do I Do for You” on repeat the entire time we were there. I was served an interesting California roll:
Is this normal for California rolls now?! I gotta say I feel there’s something wrong with mixing cantaloupe and wasabi….
Then we were on to the concert. It began at 7:15 pm. The headliner was Ladytron, and the Chinese bands Supermarket (超级市场) and the Flowers (花儿乐队) played as well. The weird thing was that the headliner, Ladytron, played second, and the Flowers played last. Brad observed that this was because the other two bands were pretty electronic-sounding; the Flowers didn’t really fit in. The Flowers played last so that fans of Ladytron could leave earlier.
Supermarket opened, and was plagued with some sound system trouble. First they had a guy on vocals singing in Chinese, then for the latter half they had a girl on vocals singing mostly English. They were OK, I guess, but pretty forgettable. I’m not a big fan of that electronic sound, but it was kinda cool to hear it coming from a Chinese band for the first time.
Ladytron came on next, and throughout their set seemed afraid to talk to the fans, even though the crowd was 30-40% foreign (read: white). One of the singers managed a shy ni hen gaoxing ma (“are you happy?”) and a few xie xies (thank yous), but not much more than that. The band relied on its music alone to work the crowd, and it worked to some degree. A few of their songs really imparted some energy.
Still, last night’s was not a crowd that any band would hope for. Before the show began I was playing a game trying to find what demographic was excluded. Pretty much only babies. There were old people, middle-aged people, whole families, little kids, young couples, older couples, loners, groups, and foreigners of all kinds. How can you possibly hope to get a good reaction out of a crowd like that? The Chinese were the majority, but a lot of them clearly had no idea what to expect from any of the bands. On top of that, although there was definitely a “crowd,” the turnout wasn’t especially high.
Micah and Brad liked Ladytron all right, I found them solidly so-so. As one of my good friends once noted, I’m a sucker for melodic music, and Ladytron was a little too much of a departure from that on a lot of their songs. “Noisy,” the old folks (not me!) would call it.
The Flowers were last. This was the band I had been looking forward to most, based on Brendan‘s recommendation. I hadn’t heard any of their music before, though. Looking at their logo on the big screen before they came out, I commented that it looked like a cross between the oldschool Atari logo and the Powerpuff Girls logo. After the band came out, I felt like they were a cross Between Green Day and the Powerpuff Girls.
Micah deemed the Flowers purely manufactured music, and I can certainly see his point, but I liked the band. The poppy punk style reminded me of my high school days. One descriptor that I can’t avoid when describing the band is cute. The way the lead singer engaged the crowd (no English, and no apologies) was just plan cute, from his jumping around and trying to get people waving their hands to his failed fart joke. One thing I have to give the Flowers is their effort at trying to get the crowd involved. The other bands (understandably) didn’t really even try, perhaps discouraged by the turnout.
So I definitely enjoyed the Flowers most. I’m going to go out and buy a CD later. Chinese musical attempts like these need to be encouraged if they’re ever going to blossom.
UPDATE: Brad has posted his account of the concert along with some good links.
UPDATE 2: Micah’s review is up.