Kicked off the month of June with a little jaunt in Fujian – a breezy, humid, seafood-centric sabbatical in the coastal city of Xiamen. I wasn’t looking for too much excitement, simply a slower pace of life, and low-key sightseeing. One thing is for clear, Xiamen is on the uptake. As more money is offloaded into the city, and the university areas develop and attract more and more, the city is seeing quite a bit of action – from hip waterside markets to Japanese-styled alleyways, and plenty of food options and of course, craft beer. It also has a budding, youthful music scene, one spearheaded by its university crowd, and though nowhere near as dense or diverse as any first-tier (or second-tier for that matter) city, is brimming with possibility. I swung by the city’s main live music hub Real Live (after the show’s original location – the more underground Mushroom House – was forced into some last minute renovations) located in the ultra-hip Shapowei Art Zone, complete with a three-story brewery and a mini skatepark. On stage were fresh-faced bands, most of which formed in the year 2017. Thousand World 叁仟界乐队kicked off the evening with some solid, upbeat indie punk who formed in Quanzhou University –
melodic with a keen sense of engaging with their audience, they were very much in their element. The next act, Chaos Youth 卡俄斯青年, a three-piece instrument rock outfit may not have fared as well, but increasingly showed more and more promise as their set went on, tossing in elements of post-punk, math rock, and softer tones into their post-rock sound.
They’ve only been around since the end of last year so as long as they hone their sound and work on their chops, they’ll have some luck. The highlight of the evening was the noise pop, shoegazing dreamers Hotkey Killer 热键被杀手, whose genuine emo-tainted dream pop brought forth some emotions inside this way too old music fan (the Ginseng certainly helped facilitate those emotions).
They probably generated the biggest audience reactions, with girls throwing themselves up front, and local university kids sweating out with glee. The evening closed out from a dangerously sexy set from YunJing 云镜, a grunge three-piece whose unhinged, chaotic, and lyrically propelled tunes went for the juggler.
Theatrical and oozing with attitude, they’re a band who I imagine will make headlines soon enough. Well, youthfulness may be a burden to many, these bands are weaponizing it to create some devilishly good sounds – let’s hope they don’t grow up too quickly.