Loopy is fast becoming ground central for Hangzhou’s night-life with bands, DJ’s and artists both local and international taking to the stage. One such hazy night before Christmas was no different with an eclectic mix of ‘pollution-pop, smoggy-disco and acid-rain anthems’, as described by ‘Junks‘ front man David Kay, who’s not too far off the mark considering the airpocalypse engulfing China these days. While the Wednesday night slot didn’t quite do justice to the artists or the attendance on the night, it’s a point proven that great art isn’t just for the weekends, but it certainly was a night well worth the mid-week music fix!
Beijing-based,’Metro Tokyo‘ sets the mood. Founder of Beijing´s first Disco DJ collective The Three Discoteers, Metro Tokyo grew up near Düsseldorf, Germany. With a love for Chinese disco pop, he moved to China in 2009 and started FakeMusicMedia (FMM) and label FakeLoveMusic (FLM). He has since performed alongside musical luminaries Peter Hook, Little Boots, Holy Ghost!, and Mike Simonetti to name just a few, as well as managing and produced well known Chinese indie band Pet Conspiracy, and Nova Heart.
Junks get things cracking on the night with a set as vibrant and glossy in 80’s electro-disco synth pop as with their appealing retro imagery. It’s been a busy year for Junks amid the Hangzhou Xihu Music Festival, multiple Loopy and nationwide shows, along with performances in guises like Ectoplasm that give us a chance to peep into their diverse influences. Both on and off the stage the band strut with a confidence in sound and presence that I hadn’t seen before. Churning out catchy 2-bit rhythms and melodies with the electrical pulse of ‘Automan‘ while conjuring up hints of Daft Punk, Devo, and Space Museum‘s classic album ‘Solid Space’.
David and Ursula tag-team as lead vocalists/keytar and are at times lashing out high energy performances on songs like my personal favourite ‘Samantha’. Followed by ‘Red Cup’, and ‘Slipstream’ among some newer tunes, all available to listen on their soundcloud. Yi Fei and Onichan are on laptops keeping the engines fired up but are less reciprocal to audience attentions. Their shadowy figures are a stark contrast to their European band-mates, as one audience member pointed out the interesting cultural comparison. While tipping their hats to Siouxsie and the Banshees, Junks’ gig comes to an end with a cover of ‘Hong Kong Garden’. What sets Junks apart is their unabashed aesthetic and sheer love of the 80’s palette both sonically and visually. If you dig the bling of Mr.T, 88mph DeLorean’s, Karate Kid’s crane, Jane Fonda headbands and big hair, Sweet Arnie o’Mine, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hip to be Huey Lewis, and Never-Ending stories…. then you’ll probably love Junks!
The Berlin-based troupe ‘Local Suicide‘ headline on the night, creating tense, dark and broody techno, nu-disco and pounding rhythms. Well versed within the music industry both as touring artists (US and Europe), and running one of Germany‘s top independent music blogs. They have consistently produced, remixed, worked in bands and as a DJ duet since 2007, and dish out a unique dose of soulful new wave, slow techno, acid house that is pulsing with underground indie spirit, dark alley brawls and dingy sweat clubs where only the bravest endure.