Long live rock, I need it every night

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Chinese Democracy

Imperial China
The Red and the Black

Dec. 21, 2007

Rock doesn't stop at Christmas and neither does DC Rock Club. Besides, none of us are Christians. Here are the details on each Rock Club member's preferred religious affiliation:

1--Jumbo Slice: Mithraist. Still sore about Constantine the Great's decision to make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century AD. "Fuck him, and fuck Christmas," says Jumbo.
2--Potsy: Church of Satan. Enjoys Christmas, but only to mock it while he sips brandy from a pewter snifter and cackles maniacally.
3--Sack Lunch: Big Jew. One of the biggest in history. Like Judd Hirsch on Jew-roids.
4--Jimbromski: Cargo Cultist. It's only natural, having grown up in Micronesia.

Cargo Cult: Come back, John Frum, we've been waiting patiently since 1944

Imperial China are a local band who've been together about four months. Last Friday's show at the Red and the Black can be considered their coming out party. Metaphorically speaking, they jumped out of a closet wearing leather speedos and announced, we're all gay. Metaphorically.

For a band that's been together for as short a time as Imperial China, I thought these guys did pretty well. They're a three piece--one drummer, one guitarist/drummer, and one bassist/keyboardist. Their sound is heavy on the instrumental and light on the vocal. It's difficult to categorize but I will say that they played loud and fast, which is always a good thing.

It's lazy writing to describe a band by just naming a bunch of bands that you think they sound like, so I'll try to avoid that pitfall here. Also, once you wade into esoteric genres and sub-genres you run the risk of getting slapped down by some uber-geek. "Noise Rock? You fucking idiot, we're not noise rock, we're avant-garde post-industrial progressive alt-dada. Get it right, newb."

So, Imperial China, to me, sounded like good movie soundtrack music, the sort that would play during fight scenes. Imagine that old kung fu movie stand-by, where one dude gets attacked by 40 ninjas, and kicks all their asses one-by-one. Then, imagine he gets on a skateboard when he's done and hits the half-pipe. It's that kind of sound.

Okay, that didn't help.

I'd rather be a lazy writer than a poor one, so here goes--Imperial China sort of sound like a Prodigy or Chemical Brothers-type band, with less melody, and a less radio-friendly presentation. I imagine the band members might cringe at that comparison but I am King Softrocker the First of DC Rock Club so maybe that's what I want them to eventually sound like. Maybe a better comparison is Kinski--check out "The Wives of Artie Shaw" on Kinski's MySpace page and you'll get an idea of what Imperial China sound like. Or, better yet, visit Imperial China's MySpace page and decide for yourself. I don't give a shit either way. You should still listen to "Wives of Artie Shaw," it's a pretty bad-assed song.

Imperial China--good local band, and one to watch. As they practice more and play more shows they could develop into something special. RC Rating: 6.1.


Jumbo Slice said...

Considering this was only their third show, I was impressed. I tend to get excited to see a band live only to be let down. That wasn't the case with Imperial China. The opening song, Radhus, was great and the band kept it going right up until the end. Speaking of which, the moment the set ended, Patrick the drummer walked offstage and just kind of bulldozed his way through the crowd and down the stairs. Classic. Whether it was planned or not I don't know but it struck me as very funny and very rock and roll.

The Kinski comparison is a fair one. In my concert preview I said they were Battles-like but that's not really accurate. As far as the songs, I'm with Jimbromski. I preferred the ones w/ a bit of a dance element with the keyboards (like w/ Radhus) over harder and darker stuff. The fact they can do both though is a positive. Too many bands have a very narrow range.

Overall, a really fun show. I can't wait to see them again.

Jumbo Slice said...

We should also mention that The Red & The Black is a pretty good place to see a show. Just remember to pack your earplugs. It can get loud upstairs. The bar downstairs isn't bad either.

Anonymous said...

Saw these guys last night at the Univ of MD...always a kick ass show.

I went to this Red & Black show as well, though I didn't stay for Imperial China (went for the first band, The Prisoner's Dilemma).