There really is no place like D-22. The lines between music, fan, hooligan, employee, well, they blur into one another. One minute someone is onstage singing their lungs out, the next they’re standing beside you jumping up and down for to the next band. It’s this blurred line that truly makes D-22 stand out above and beyond the other venues in town. It’s always an intimate affair. So with just three more shows left before their saddening closure shit’s gonna get sentimental. You know it’s bad when you find yourself reminiscing in a stinky (and by golly that’s puke on the floor) wet bathroom.So with that in mind, let’s get into it.
First up, was Unionbunny, an all girl group, who as you might imagine from the picture above play some super adorable, non-offensive, cheery, rockable melocore pop that wouldn’t be out of place over the closing credits of a Japanese anime. Gimmickry for sure, but how can I hate on this.
Like cotton candy, it’s tastes so good in the moment, but afterwards you’re not so sure what you were thinking. Really though, I have a weakness for this type of music, and when sung by the adorable Lolaloli, it’s hard to resist. Just give in I say.
When lead singer of CAssette, Daisy, walked onstage I expected another quirky girl-led group along the lines of Hang on the Box, or even to a lesser extent, DH and the Chinese Hellcats (the old school microphone brought about that comparison). I was way off; CAssette is in a league of their own and won me over completely. Daisy’s voice sounds like its often grasping for the next breathe of air – it’s sharp, sexy, vulnerable, mysterious – delicate when it wants to be but able to turn into a rock squall at any moment. And boy, what a storm she raised. Hear for yourself on her song “马来貘之家”.
Between her voice, her electronic switchboard, and a great heavy band (kudos to the drummer especially), these guys rocked out the place. Like a more intense and dark cabaret show, CAssette put a spell over me.
Next up was You Xi, a boy girl duo whose sound I would describe as moody garage rock. The ingredients were there – the guitar was spot on, bluesy, livid, and raw. The drummer brought some great attitude and backup vocals to the set. Yet, it didn’t all come together as I’d hoped – instead of bombarding me, the music washed over me.
Perhaps this was the intention, but when the highlight of your set is a cover of “Seven Nation Army”, one has to expect a little more. I’ll give You Xi the benefit of the doubt, there’s talent there for sure – it just needs to be fleshed out a tad bit more.
And finally, rookies of the year Residence A, got on and as usual proceeded to melt our faces off. I remember seeing the band almost a year ago at D-22 and boy, have these just been getting exceedingly better and better since then. D-22 is the perfect place for them; seeing them up close and wilding out is just gravy on the fries. There is really nothing else I can say for these folks – their hard work has paid off and I can’t wait for their album to drop in February. And not gonna lie, I did get a little misty-eyed when they had the whole house singing along to “送春”, even having friends join them onstage.
Only at D-22 boys and girls!!! One down, two to go. Check out some more photos and videos of the unforgettable night below, and check in later this week for more coverage on D-22’s last stand.