Friday Night Musical Outro: Friend Or Foe

Hello Beijing Cream readers. My name is Josh and I work at this other website called Smart Beijing, where I write tl;dr music articles on a weekly basis. The Tao is outsourcing these Friday Musical Outros to my comrade Morgan, but he’s doing some other shit right now. So you’re stuck with me.

Here’s a taste of this Saturday’s show by Shanghai’s Friend or Foe. This video was shot by homegrown, straightforwardly-named blog/burgeoning media empire Live Beijing Music. Dudes are rocking a multiple-camera setup now. Profesh. They took to the high-speed rail a while back to do a special series on Live Shanghai Music, and in the process caught Friend or Foe live in their natural habitat (Yuyintang). This video pretty much tells you everything you need to know about FoF: kind of a plodding, funky Chi Peps vibe peppered with hi-muff guitar shredding. Vocalist Rabshaka Shakalaka (born “Adam”) in a dress. Drummer Mahanadan (born “Rabshaka”) in a pink wig. People dancing. Good times being spilled all over the floor.

Here’s a bonus LBM viddy of Rab doing an improvised serenade in that weird one-way-street alley outside YYT:

There are a lot of reasons to like FoF besides their music. They’re hardworking DIY guys, having self-released their debut, My Claw Is Never Limp!, and then commissioned a bunch of artists to rework its definitely not electronic songs into vaguely club-friendly bangers on the subsequent What Have You Done With My Claw!!?? remix album. They’re proactive about playing out of Shanghai, and don’t ask for much besides sharing the stage with musicians whom they respect, regardless of whether those musicians would objectively make sense on the same bill. Case in point: I booked one of their first Beijing gigs back at D-22 a few years ago. They asked to play with wtf-noise duo Deadly Cradle Death because, as they put it: “Deadly Cradle Death sounds like puppies and kittens, especially on the song ‘Deadly keithyeetal,’ so that’s why we like them. For me, it’s always a good idea to play with bands you want to see, rather than trying to pigeonhole yourself.” I rolled with it and in the end the show was killer. Friend or Foe descended from the rafters with this sort of Sun Ra B-movie getup and eerie space music and proceeded to win a grip of new fans.

This time around they’re playing with Residence A, a band that probably needs no introduction here, and Yantiao, which I conveniently enough re-introduced on Monday. It’s at Temple and it’s free, so you know what that means. If you don’t, I’ll tell you: it means you’ll call your boss at 3 am and say, “Fuck you, I’m not going in to work tomorrow because it’s a SUNDAY for Christ’s sake!” — and continue slamming back “creative” shots and not wake up til Monday afternoon anyway. Temple is going full speed ahead with its mantle of “Most Likely Place to Accidentally Inhale a Dreadlock” or whatever the Beijinger award it won was called and making this night a costume party: dress up like a rock ‘n’ roll stereotype to win free booze. Yeah, that’s real.

Like I said, I’m just filling in. But if you wanna chat or talk some shit, hit me up at music@smartbeijing.com.

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