Article by Tim King
– SHADOWS EVEN ALBUM RELEASE SHOW
Laowai bands are generally treated like a gimmick around these parts. Even non-musicians, I’m sure, have seen a stray ad in a WeChat group somewhere asking for “foreigner friend musicians” to play covers for some cockamamie event or country wedding or what have you. Shadows Even is no joke though—the core of the band has grinded it out in various other projects during their tenure in Xi’an before finally coming together and adding vocalist and Guangdong native Wu Jiang to their milieu.
Heavily influenced by early 90’s alternative, their music is emboldened by other disparate influences that will catch the ear of even those who don’t worship at the altar of grunge. Their sound is still finding itself, but there’s a promising blend of stadium-ready hard rock progressions, evocative bass work (full disclosure, played by our resident music critic Dave Wright) and blistering psychedelic riffage. All of this is on display in their debut full length, Got You With Me, which will be released properly the night of the show at Midi Livehouse.
If you’re sick of us always talking about Xi’an’s bustling metal scene, this one’s for you. Beijing’s SUBS (it’s an acronym for “Super Universe Baby Scream,” apparently) is coming to town, and skipping their show would mean skipping out on one of the cleverest and most creative bands that China has produced. The elevator pitch for their sound would be “the Chinese Yeah Yeah Yeahs,” but it’s a bit punkier than that. Even though last year’s 3-song EP, 怪诞大道 (Strange Avenue), would see their style continue to morph into something a bit more restrained and danceable, those raw roots underpin each song with well-placed blasts of aggression.
It’s been about three years since I last saw them, when they lit up a sparsely attended music festival in an old skate park, and I can only imagine what their magnetic, bombastic stage presence will be able to do in the more intimate confines of Midi Livehouse. This is definitely not one to be missed.