Our first stop of the trip was Shenzhen. Here, we were performing as part of the OCT-Loft Jazz Festival, held in the OCT cultural district. Our label manager, Giacomo Bruzzo, was also appearing as part of the festival, giving a lecture on our label RareNoise.
Because the lecture was on Friday and our gig wasn’t until Monday, we had a few days in Shenzhen to enjoy the OCT complex and the events of the festival.
The festival hub was the Old Heaven Bookshop – a great store filled with records, CDs, tapes, books… and an adjoining cafe bar which hosted nightly jam sessions with the festival performers. We picked up quite a few records here – one of which was from Chinese doom metal band Hyponic:
Paul and I tried to get through the extensive tea menu during our time there (Colin stuck to the Jack & cokes). The festival was kind enough to continuously provide us with beverages from the bookshop – thanks OCT-Loft! Many a Tsing Tao was consumed during intense musical discussion.
Sunday night at the festival was Korekyojinn, which as a Ruins fan (especially Sax Ruins with Ono Ryoko) was a real treat. Prog colossus Tatsuya Yoshida on drums, with Mitsuro Nasuno (bass) and Natsuki Kido (guitar) – this was our first Korekyojinn experience and … HOLY SHIT. They are huge and intense and if you’re still reading and not looking them up right now, what are you doing?
Nasuno and Kido stuck around at the bookshop after their gig, where Colin jammed with Kido and we got to enjoy a second round of Korekyojinn madness. Red Scarf drummer Deng Boyu also joined the jam, making us wish we had been able to attend the Red Scarf performance on the 11th. Look them up! Winds, drums and guitar in an avant-garde improv hurricane.
Our gig came on Monday, where we sound checked in the cavernous B10 venue. Sounding suitably huge, we paused for dinner – an amazing feast in a restaurant and music bar on the top floor of one of the complex’s industrial buildings, “浅葱小唱”. The best translation I can get of this is “shallow onions small singing”.
We then headed back to play the first gig of FNMDJ in China!
Our profound thanks go to the festival organisers and everyone who helped us during our stay in Shenzhen, and of course the audience who responded so incredibly to our music. The “autograph session” after the gig was quite surreal!
We wound down with a jam at the bookshop (and rather a lot of Japanese whisky) before saying our goodbyes and heading to bed before round 2 of FNMDJ in China: Guangzhou.