Editor’s Note: It took us awhile to collect our thoughts and reflect upon the events of May 21st. Like any eventful night, it inspired conflicting opinions. We will bring you two of those opinions, the first from Mache here, and the second from Zack in the next post.
It’s 3:43 AM and I’m back from Logo, where the celebration for S.T.D.’s concert featuring Youth and the Destroyer, AV Okubo, and Ratatat is still happening. The night wasn’t as long as other nights at Logo, or as crowded as others around Xingfu Lu, but the atmosphere was exhilarating. People were so excited that the police even came to…well, I can’t really tell you why. It was an intense night for music in Shanghai. S.T.D’s production seemed to be the result of alot of work, and it is impossible to not feel (yes, that’s a double negative) that music scored tonight in Shanghai. Here’s how it went down.
The Dream Factory was already crowded when I arrived at 9 PM. The entrance floor was loud and excited. People were having fun, ready for something, but they didn’t know what. Near 9:30, Youth and the Destroyer began to play. We were at the middle of the place and there were enough people to create the right mood. The band played a moderate, but strong start, Reggie said, “Thank you for coming for a great night with Ratatat.” The vibe was on.
After a few songs I was at the very front of the stage. People were watching the band and having fun. Then the sound did its nasty thing and one song that could have been beautiful turned into something scary. The next song (sorry, I don’t know the titles) made me truly listen to the band. I thought for a second these guys could be a new Blondie. After the lost song, the music came to life, stood up with big strength, and yelled, “Fuck the sound!!!” It was intense. Was it new metal? Heavy punk? Post-Industrial Rock? Who cares?! The bass was killing the speakers, the drummer was pushing rhythmic limits, and the singers were moving the crowd with their voices and attitudes, totally into their own thing. The band left to loud cheers. Reggie was happy, along with the rest of the band. The air was very hot. It was time to go to the back. People were still coming in.
At the back, I found some friends and chatted. The sound at the back was bad. People were complaining that the Dream Factory has a disturbing echo that requires a good sound engineer. At the front the music sounded nice to me, but maybe it was just me having too much fun. It was clear that when AV Okubo began I must go to the front if I wanted to enjoy the music.
AV Okubo is interesting. They can be fun, heavy, strange, rock stars, or just cool guys. They are strong and playful musicians. This music is more sensitive to bad sound than Youth and the Destroyer, but they take sound issues well. The songs are full of changes, and you never know really where they are going, but it always takes you to a more exciting experience, like a freaking roller coaster. The people feel them and react by dancing, moshing, and yelling. AV Okubo is the band of excitement.
They finished smoothly, almost gently. The crowd was dense, jumping at the front, and it was airless and hot. I made it to the very back. I stood up when I met Super Sophia near the stairs, and I stayed hanging there. It must have been around 10 pm and many people were still coming inside. I relaxed. I drank water and did all those things one does when enjoying quietly. But people were still coming in. It was a long wait already. The noise from the people’s voices inside was loud, and the music was getting louder. No one was yelling for the band to begin. Everybody was into their chats and eventual looks around. Then, suddenly, the movement toward the human swimming pool accelerated. Out of the speakers came ACDC’s “Back in Black” and the floor became full in a blink. Not one more person could fit, not even a cat. Ratatat soon started. The lights were moving, the screen had strange visuals, the music was heavy, but slow. I was waiting for the song that obliged people in front to come to the back. It came, and the exodus began. Julie Glasses passed by and ordered, “To the front!” I followed her.
The music was powerful, attractive and a bit disturbing. The lights and video were amazing. The guys on the stage knew how to use the elements. The huge, shadowed guitar player, with his long-haired head banging into orange fire on the screen was not shy at all. It was interesting that the crowd was not going crazy. They were just there. The concert was memorable anyway, music burning. A big sample of the planet was there.
I found Julie Glasses again, whom I had lost once we arrived at the front. We stayed there until the last chord died, had some chats with friends, drank more water, and began to find a balance with silence again. When going out, Julie said about Ratatat, “Isn’t it great Metallica, without the lyrics?” We laughed. It was funny because I was thinking, “Isn’t it cool Stravinsky with electric guitars?”
Logo was the celebration of the night. The DJs were fine and people were excited. I wonder if everybody had this much fun. I hope so. It was a music party, tuned in rock.
*Photos by Daisy Zhou