If you ever visit China, be prepared to get really sucked into the wormhole that is their music scene. It happened to me, and it happens to almost everyone. You come back and just start digging (I suggest you start here). Hell, since returning from my trip, I have sent many people down that path myself, and met many more who all feel the same.
Another hopeless addict helping make this tour happen is Ricky Maymi of Brian Jonestown Massacre, who by the way are <a href=”http://www.brianjonestownmassacre.com/?news=eurotour2014″ target=”_blank”>doing a huge tour of their own soon. When he told me Carsick Cars were coming over, I knew I had to be there. The kicker, for me at least, was that Wang Xu of The Gar was tagging along to get their twopiece side project WHITE+ added to the tour. It's not every day two separate Chinese acts get to make this trek.
After being in the PRC for an entire month, I caught WHITE+ on my first day in Beijing. Wang Xu powers away on drums alongside circuitbent noise that Carsick Cars leader Zhang Shouwang turns out. It reminded me of Battles, but was immediately refreshing to me. I decided I had no choice but to make the relatively short trek from Missoula, Montana to catch them in Olympia and Seattle. Their Olympia show was in a basement called the “Guest House.” A small basement, with an added greatness of a fireplace, and their 60+ year-old neighbor plugging her ears while smiling during the first soundcheck.
Fruit Juice, in Olympia.
Nathan Rook and Wang Xu
Olympia natives Fruit Juice opened it up, and swell Minneapolis folks Flavor Crystals are trekking with the tour for a bit. It was as great as you could imagine, with kids generally losing it in the early morning hours. One particularly excited fellow wrestled someone to the ground, while the girl I drove with somehow slept through Carsick Cars set on the couch in the back! I figured she would wake up considering the volume level. Impressive! It was my first time in Olympia. Great people. We hit a few record stores. Wang Xu buys a Wipers cassette and a Spits record with only light prompting from me. We popped into K Records, ate Thai food, and were on our way to Seattle.
Carsick Cars at Spin Cycle, Seattle
First up, a loud, fairly length instore at Spin Cycle! They bust through new songs and a sped up “You Can Listen, You Can Talk”. Having seen them twice before, once practicing these new songs, I began to really admire this third record. Their third lineup. It's solid, and is maniacally catchy live. They're still one of China's most popular bands. Shouwang jumps off amps and breaks bones to pop songs! You can't deny the energy is still there. Though none of that happened on this trip, it didn't really have to. People were excited enough. There were multiple mosh pits at Chop Suey. A good turnout. People danced for WHITE+, as they should! It takes a lot of work to sometimes break even on tours like these, but at these shows, everybody was happy to see them, and it showed in the performances. Hopefully you are reading this soon because there's still seven dates left.
WHITE+ at Chop Suey, Seattle
You can catch the last seven dates of the tour here:
24 Wunderbar, Edmonton, Canada
25 Vangelis Tavern, Saskatoon, Canada
26 West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, Canada
27 Cause, Minneapolis, MN
28 The Burlington, Chicago, IL
30 Izakaya Sushi House, Toronto, Canada
31 The APK, London, ON
01 Divan Orange, Montreal, Quebec
03 Baby's All Right, Brooklyn, NY
05 Bowery Ballroom, New York City, NY