I had my real first taste of Psychoney Wave back in January for the last Zoomin’ Night – let’s just say I was carving more. Since then I’ve indulged myself in some of the more experimental acts in town as well as started my love affair with Skip Skip Ben Ben, the three-piece ‘we-make-fucking-good-music’ group. Well I basically had a feast prepared for me at Mao Livehouse last Friday as I got to finally check out Birdstriking once again, see Skip Skip Ben Ben take names, listen to the increasingly intriguing Chui Wan, and be surprised by Deadly Cradle Death.
I must admit I didn’t take to Birdstriking when I first saw them back on Christmas Eve in 2010. I thought they were all over the place, sloppy, and well shit, I probably had one too many that night at D-22. But I saw them last summer again and my opinion wavered higher, enough to warrant me to purchase their album a few months back – and I gotta say I was impressed – the boys had cleaned up (relatively speaking), tightened up, and made some downright balls-to-the-wall smash some yangjings against the floor tunes. Tonight they certified this opinion.
One can easily make comparisons to Carsick Cars, but there’s an anger here that fuels the abrasive drive to their sound. He Fan’s pained ‘out-of-breathe’ voice which reaches often a squeal is endearing – the man’s on his soap box and he’ll be heard whether you like it or not. They did manage taking down the pace time to time, as when they brought up Yan Yulong for “Magpie”
– but even then the blood is still boiling, as the song escalates into a passionate cry. Birdstriking put on a rollercoaster of a set that paved the way for the night – hope they find the time to play more.
Skip Skip Ben Ben just keeps getting better in my book – they have cease to let me down, so much that I’m been kicking myself all week in regret that I didn’t record more of their show. Perhaps I’m just getting comfortable around their sets aka rocking my ass off to their music.
I’ve said it before but have to reiterate – Ben Ben’s voice is apple pie somehow she manages to hit pitches so high and yet avoids turning it into a glass-shattering screech – it’s ever so sweet. The band really does make some seriously catchy melodies which kinda just engrain themselves in your brain – try not to hum the bassline from “La Lasta” after hearing this –
There’s not much else to it other than whatever they’re doing, it’s working wonders – and really at this point no stage can defeat them – so let’s just keep trucking along guys – Dos Kolegas next!
Chui Wan loves the idea of toying with the audience’s expectations of what’s to come. Just when you think one of their songs is going a certain way, it completely takes a left hand turn, or backtracks, or straight up Houdinis’ on you, keeping you guessing the whole time.
I understand how some people can be turned off by this – my friend certainly was, as he made up some half-assed excuse to bow out early. But stick it out and there are some true nuggets within their songs that are truly awe-inspiring (or head scratching depending on your perspective). It really is some of the most colorful and foreign music (lots of Ethiopian influences in there) I’ve heard in some time – check out this psychedelic piece (with psychedelic camera work which I didn’t intend for) –
Beneath all the lo-fi vocals and random tempo changes, Chui Wan know how to get your feet tapping. It’s a freakshow for sure but these kids are highly trained, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll pull out of their hat again.
Holy shit! I did not see myself in a million years enjoying Deadly Cradle Death, the two-piece nosie-electro group fronted by He Fan (these birdstrikers really love pulling double duty) and Liu Xinyu. This is a bombardment on one’s sense’s – not only your ears, but all of them, those vibrations left my nerves shaking live an ex-junkie.
I think the reason why I was so taken with the duo comes down to one word: evil. This is pure pitch black glossy evil. It’s the anti-club music. I wanna set these two up at a drum n’ bass event and watch the sheer terror on the faces of all those dub-hungry fiends – getting dizzy just thinking about it. I love it, there might as well put a cauldron between them, boiling ferociously as if they were warlocks conjuring up dark spells to lay waste to all the pollution in this city (literally and figuratively). Hehe – alright I’m gonna stop myself before this rant myself into a corner here.
Scrappier, harder, weirder, darker, and sweeter than ever – the Psychoney collective is back in business folks and I couldn’t be happier. Hopefully the next meal is sooner than later. Check below for some more videos from Birdstriking, and Chui Wan, as well as a soundbite of Skip Skip Ben Ben and Deadly Cradle Death (just an extended version of the second video above). Wilbur Force!!!!!
SKIP SKIP BEN BEN
DEADLY CRADLE DEATH