On The Scene: Jianghu Bar 15-08-2013


A show at Jianghu Bar!? Pop music?! Australians!? What’s going on here!? Yes, it’s true, I stopped by the cozy hutong joint last Thursday to catch Melbourne-based singer songwriter Sophie Koh charm the pants off of a packed house with her jazzy, snyth-curious sincere indie pop.

You know it’s not good when you’re playing her album on repeat days after the show. I really let my guard down on this one I guess. Check below for more as well as my first proper introduction to blues-heavy outfit 16 mins.


16 mins didn’t have it’s entire band on hand tonight – yet demoted to just its singer, Sindy and Robin, on guitar, they still managed to give a rousing performance that went back and forth between slow burning, sultry voiced-led numbers and feet bopping guitar crackling ditties.

It’s got attitude. A big plus in my book. Vibrant guitar work that’s full of crunch. And Sindy’s voice, though nowhere near as ‘instrumental’ as Thom Yorke (a big influence on their sound according to them), is robust – she does wonders with it, adding some real weight to their set.

Finishing with a cover of ‘Hallelujah” (rarely a good idea) the two managed to silence the whole house. Now that’s something. Might just have to check these guys out again.


Australian singer Sophie Koh, of Malay-Kiwi descendent, on the tail end of their China tour, gave as lovely a performance one could ask for. No fuss, no gimmicks – just strong lyrics, a solid voice, a more than game backing band, and straight sincerity – pop the way they used to make it.

She’s a born natural. And while it may be lacking the edge of what I’m usually filming around these parts – there was nothing lackluster about her performance, even when she’s dipping into pure sugar-coated pop tunes like this one.

Anyone else singing this and it’d be immediately be brushed off – but she pulls it off. Earnestness goes a long way people, even more so when she sang sans the electronic backing.

By the end of the show she had won me over and pretty much the entire crowd (finally have some common ground musically with my lady)finally bringing up Sindy from 16 mins back onstage to sing with her.

Not too shabby. Just don’t go expecting me to make this a regular occurrence. I let my guard down and Sophie Koh went straight for the kill.

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