Bunkered down at Modernsky Lab for the first half of their Legal Vitamin Music Festival – the first noise, shoegaze, and psychedelic rock festival. Pretty board strokes there but I love it nevertheless considering the stellar two-day lineup they cooked up – chock full of the city’s finest up and comers (and a few oldies thrown in for good measure). I swung by night one to catch jangly laid back rockers The Molds, psychedelic freak folk duo TOW, space rock twofer The Dice and shoegaze act The Last Goodbye.
First off, I’ve too afraid to record The Dice. They’re probably the most psychedelic of the group meaning that it’s sometimes difficult to decipher when one song ends and the other begins. And frankly, I love them for that. It’s music that washes over you. Music that simply put, drugs were made for. Heck, you don’t even need to look at them after about two minutes. They lock into a groove and don’t give in. Props.
The Molds, probably the biggest draw of the evening, mainly due to their band members’ (cough Liu Ge cough) incredibly good looks, were a lethargic cigarette burn of a band – the right balance of charisma and disparagement that very few musicians can pull off. One minute, a rugged country song tumbleweed of a song, the next a noisy, squirrely surf rock jam session – the band seems to play on their own wavelength even as the audience hung on their every chord.
TOW is a strange beast of a band – the duo formed from The Molds’ lead singer Liu Ge and prominent musician/producer Yang Fan they’re part menacing fairy tale, part psychedelic curiosity. The two conjure a sound that may at first may off putting but will slowly dig its claws into you. There’s a wry playfulness that forces the listening to refocus their ears and find solace in the endearing strangeness of it all.
And finally one of my favorites – shoegaze wunderkinds Last Goodbye, who continue to beef up their set and stage presence. One of the most melodically pleasing bands at the moment in Beijing. My buddy and I fanboyed all over the band afterwards – things got awkward quick. But seriously, can’t get enough of these guys.
All in all, it’s good to see Modernsky Lab stretch out their arms a bit and try something new. The venue could easily attract a much longer crowd considering the roster they have, but more and more they’re testing the waters and giving the spotlight to some of the scene’s most dangerous sounds. Kudos.