Maybe Mars Will Rock Uranus

This was a most anticipated show everywhere and in between. I had high hopes for the gig and I was not disappointed. I think the main idea I took from the show was that Maybe Mars has a deep roster of talented bands that maybe lack a bit of that indefinable quality that is often labeled as charisma.

I was present from beginning to end and the beginning was Rustic, who have been taking more flak on the blogosphere than a Luftwaffe Messerschmitt. This humble essayer will go against the grain and praise the fairly new band for their youthful exuberance. Are they derivative? Unquestionably. Are they perhaps less than stellar on their respective instruments? One would have to say yes. Do they rock? Indubitably. They were the perfect opener for this show in which people were slow to get off their petrified asses in the first place. It’s quite disconcerting to watch people in the front rows standing stock still while a rock show is blaring forth, but whatever. Rustic did their best to impart a little spirit. I will trade quite a bit of musical virtuosity in exchange for some energy and fun, especially in a live setting. This is the bargain that I made with Rustic, a parody of a good time during their set. I believe I was much better off for it. And they must receive extra points for bassist Rikki Sixx’s ridiculous mane.

24 Hours was next, a band I always thought was cool, save for their atrocious stage presence. They’re like the Rustic foil in that they have all the chops in the world, but they don’t seem to be very confident. I missed their Halloween gig at YuYinTang, but I felt that way when they played the Dream Factory during the first half of the Get in the Van show. They have gotten a bit better in this area and their sound is a lot bigger and more defined. I really enjoyed their set, especially the latter half and uber-especially their cover of “Bang Bang” (a song written by Sonny Bono [?!], recorded by Cher and Nancy Sinatra, respectively, and popularized in the film “Kill Bill”.) That was fun.

To preface this next part I should say that I was very excited for the Gar, but that didn’t work out. Instead, we got Ourself Beside Me, who are pretty ballyhooed in their own right. However, I was not really feeling this performance. Their sound was very drone-y. I can’t even really tell you much about their set because I think I fell into a K-hole from a very early point in it (figurative reference). A bit disappointing for me.

P.K. 14 was the final installment in this showcase. All hell broke loose in my brain during their set. I had never seen them live before so I was expecting a lot. They delivered a KO punch to my senses right away and I was soon moshing about shirtless, losing my shirt and camera case in the process. If anyone has either of those items, hit me up in the comments or something. P.K. 14’s sound was just bigger than anything else going that night. The difference was morbidly palpable in my abdomen or maybe I should just quit smoking, like right now. At any rate, it is fun to see some skinny, nerdy guy rocking out so hard.

At the end of their set I was drained and we jetted home right away. It’s good to leave a venue tired, I think. That is the sign of a fun show. I have heard some people complaining about sound and/or lights, but those things become extraneous to me (unless the sound is egregiously bad) when I feel like I have heard some cutting-edge music that moved me.

I hope pictures will follow when I find a new Sony Memory Stick Pro USB adapter, which was also in my departed camera case. I’m blaming you for that, Yang Haisong.

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  1. Andy Best

    Hey Zack

    You never got your shirt back? I think the place needs some minor security. Especially for all those cheeky front row people who didn’t use the cloakroom then piled the front stage with their coats and bags.

    I think you did get taken away with it all (a good thing) because the sound and lights WERE atrocious. If you are familiar with the CDs of the three signed acts of the nights, and have seen them do good shows, then you’d have been shocked at how the “best venue in China” at the mo sounded like Logo on a bad one.

    Just load up PK14’s debut CD and skip to “第二十八个影子” marvel in it’s greatness, then think of the sound at Mao. What a missed opportunity.

    Hope that Mao doesn’t run the entire tech side with two interns for Carsick Cars too.

  2. Zack

    I feel you, man, but I was just having such a good time. Makes me wonder again and again why the scene is so much different down here. Of course, there are great bands in Shanghai, but up there it really is an embarrassment of riches.


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