If you’ve been in Shanghai for any amount of time at all, you’ve probably heard about Rainbow Danger Club. This quintet has been on the scene since 2009, producing lush, orchestral indie-rock unlike anything else in this city. This Saturday will be your last chance to see them together, live, performing one last show as Rainbow Danger Club before the members go their separate ways.
They released their first EP, The New Atlantis, in October of 2010, which was an 8 track sketch of what was to come with their first full length release, Where Maps End, in March 2011. Even though the band had been steadily building a fan base in Shanghai, Where Maps End gave listeners, for the first time, a chance to hear just what was going on inside of these guys’ head. Their live shows had always been good and one of the main reasons that they gained so many fans so fast, but the album showed that they were working on so many more levels than what could possibly be done onstage.
It’s really no surprise that since then Rainbow Danger Club has managed to build a fan base in Shanghai and beyond, through regularly gigs and festival dates in China as well as an American tour last summer. And the reason they’ve been able to do this really isn’t a mystery: they write good songs, they perform good music, and they don’t sound like a copy of anything else happening right now.
After their first full-length LP, they released two live albums: one from Shanghai and one from an Austin, TX show. But that was really all a prelude to getting back into the studio and recording new material they’d been writing and working on for a while. First was their second EP Into the Cellar from November 2012, which at 50 minutes could have stood as a full-length album on its own. But from various songs and re-workings on that EP came their second and best full-length album that was just released in June of this year: Souvenirs.
To me, Souvenirs sounds like the embodiment of everything Rainbow Danger Club has been working towards since they got together and started playing. It’s a mix of likable, indie rock songs plus bigger, more elaborate compositions with different instruments and arrangements. They’re deftly straddling the line between indie pop and experimental rock, and they’re doing it so well, which is why it’s such a pity that they’re breaking up.
It’s a typical Shanghai band break-up, in that the band members have come from different places and have different lives and music so far has been a hobby, which means people eventually want to and have to move on. It’s sad that we won’t get to see Rainbow Danger Club anymore on the Shanghai scene, especially because they’re a band that has a great deal of promise and has already produced and contributed so much. This isn’t to say that Rainbow Danger Club won’t reappear elsewhere, in some other form or place, but this is definitely it for the RDC that Shanghai has come to love.
If for some reason you’ve been under a rock and have never seen RDC, don’t miss Saturday’s show at Yuyintang, which will be their last. And if you’re already a fan, come and give RDC a proper Shanghai send-off to show them just how important they’ve been to the music scene here for the past four years.