Once upon a time, not so long ago, my personal mantra was “tighten the screws, relax the sphincter.” It came to me in a dream, and this brilliant, cosmic, east-meets-west prescription for success and self-mastery was a powerful revelation to all who heard it until I forgot about it a few weeks later. At YuYinTang on Tuesday it returned to me as I witnessed the rocking-out of Wang Wen, 21 grams, and Sound Illusion. All three bands could stand a little screw tightening, though maybe as little as a half turn would do. As they were expanding, filling the room and coloring it, everything was cool, but it was when things started to move, bubble, and rock that you felt that tightened screws would make for a more convincing surge of energy. Which is not to say that sphincters were overtight, on the contrary I totally dug the rawness and especially the unpredictability of all three bands on what was billed as “post-rock night.” I don’t really know what post-rock is except that I have heard people say Radiohead is post-rock. They reminded me much more of Sonic Youth, with slowly developing, almost exclusively instrumental songs, with timbre and dynamics on equal footing with harmony, melody, and rhythm.
It was my first trip to YuYinTang, as well my first time hearing these three bands, and the venue gets a hearty thumbs up from me just as it seems to from everyone else. The audience wasn’t dancing or moving much, but I wouldn’t call it subdued either. There was a positive, friendly atmosphere, and everyone was listening, which is all you can ask for, really. I am looking forward to checking out these bands and this venue again soon.
And now some links for your enjoyment:
Wangwen’s Myspace, 21 Grams’ Neocha
Video of Wangwen at Yuyintang
Andy Best‘s Youtube page, including clips of Wangwen and 21 Grams from YuYinTang
Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything but an empty Neocha page on SoundIllusion, which was probably my favorite band of the night. If anyone has a link, please send it.
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