After too much time away, last night I dove back into the local live music scene for Pet Conspiracy (宠物同谋) at Yugong Yishan (愚公移山). PC is the second project from singer Helen Feng; her first is a great band called Ziyo (自由). I’ve got Ziyo’s CD and really like it, but I’ve never seen them live. While Ziyo is a rock band, PC is a kind of electronic art punk project started by Feng with Chinese electronic musician Huzi, who has a number of releases under his own name. Definitely gotta check those out.
This band is known for having a strong visual element. One of the members (Yun Yun) is credited with “backing vocals and video.”
They started out with a white curtain in front of the stage. Various graphics, lights and lasers were projected on it while a DJ played a very wide selection of music. I’m pretty sure he played some Tortoise, which makes him a winner in my book. He also included a cut by Ziyo.
Then we got Feng’s silhouette holding a large knife. She held the knife high and the plunged it down...
...and the curtain dropped to reveal the band on stage. They had it all done up in silver, which looked great in the lights. Yun Yun was up on Huzi’s shoulders, their backs to the audience. The three women in the band wore bunny masks.
After a bit, Yun Yun left the stage.
She returned with a big red ball. She bounced it around on stage for a while and then hurled it into the audience. It traveled around the place for the rest of the evening.
In addition to having a wonderful voice, Feng is a very active and charismatic performer.
A few songs into the set, Feng left the stage and returned wearing a top hat and jacket.
She and Yun Yun sang a sexy duet.
Many people in the audience were singing along with the band, so it seems they have some fans.
Later, there was another costume change.
Often music with heavy elements of programming can seem kind of dull when presented “live.”
Not a chance of that here. Between the show’s visual design and the sheer exuberance of the performers, there was no letting up from start to finish. In the last song of the regular set, which had lyrics something to do with money, a machine started spewing out fake $1000 bills.
The music reached a frenetic peak and the band left the stage to the sound of feedback from the abandoned guitar.
During the encore, the band left the music playing by itself and came out into the crowd.
In the end, there were audience members dancing on the stage as well.
When I get a chance, I’ll post some video on YouTube.
After the show, I bought Pet Conspiracy’s five-song CD and an autographed poster. Man, what a night!
Check out their MySpace page for some audio.
And I can’t resist a little language note about the bands’ names. Ziyo(自游) doesn’t really mean anything as far as I can tell, though it is pronounced the same as the word for freedom (自由), properly spelled Ziyou; on their CD the Chinese name is rather inconspicuous. In a similar fashion, while Pet Conspiracy does have a Chinese version of their name ( 宠物同谋 Chongwu Tongmou), it doesn’t appear anywhere on their CD – there’s no Chinese in the design at all. And since Chinese words are very flexible, it could also be translated as “pet conspirators.” The club’s name, 愚公移山 (Yugong Yishan), is “the old man moves mountains,” which is apparently from an old folk tale. It’s an idiom that means “nothing is impossible if you have the will.”