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Gig Review: The Good China @ Pure Pop Records, 19th September

Yesterday, The Good China played an intimate and achingly beautiful set to a capacity crowd at the iconic Pure Pop Records courtyard (which admittedly is about 40 people). It was a stunning, albeit short, set, and I couldn’t have been more impressed.

The band consisted of seven members at the time, with one absentee who was overseas. Even down a man, the band spilled over all sides of the minuscule stage, creating an even more intimate atmosphere than normally at Pure Pop. Their numerous instruments and accompanying cords took up what little space there was left, creating a hectic and packed stage.

Apparently the courtyard was so full at one point that people waiting outside were refused entry, which is a real pity, because those inside witnessed a real treat. There is no frontman or frontwoman of The Good China, instead the seven bandmembers bounced between instruments with absurd ease, mixing in banjos, melodicas, violins, and everything in between.

They created a surprisingly coherent sound that truly did feel unique, even if you could distinctly spot its influences, most notably Los Campesinos! and Arcade Fire. I only recognised songs from their debut EP, ‘Old Maps/New Roads’, but there was something special to be found in the many layers of every single song.

All Nothing was really rather wonderful, with that distinctive Andrew Bird-esque finger-picked violin providing an uplifting background to the infectious track that saw the band members moving around what little space there was on the stage (at one point the bass player was actually calmly sitting on a seat to the side of the stage while playing, with all other room being taken).

My favourite song of theirs, We Found 3 Whistles, made an appearance towards the end of the forty minute set, and was quite simply mesmerising. It is a track that I have listened to countless times, and live it was even more magic, absolutely captivating the courtyard.

The band explained that this were their first gig in a while, and this manifested itself in occasional forgotten lyrics, but rather than detracting from the gig this only added to the intimate atmosphere and the feeling that this was kind of special.

The closing song, No More Maps No More Roads was really fantastic as well, finishing the gig on a real high note of unabated joy. I’ve been unable to find a copy of this song anywhere, so perhaps it is new, or perhaps unreleased. Either way, me want.

This was one of those really special gigs that I was just really happy to be a part of. The Good China were breathtaking, both in their musicianship, stage presence, and song-writing ability. These guys are one of the true hidden gems of the Melbourne music scene.

Now just imagine what they are like live with all eight band members…

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3 Responses to “Gig Review: The Good China @ Pure Pop Records, 19th September”

  1. I was there yesterday and I couldn’t agree with you more. What a beautiful set! I didn’t realise that I was lucky to have a spot in the courtyard.
    Love your blog, by the way.

  2. I was lucky enough to get in to that gig and I’m glad because it was the first time I got to see The Good China live. They’re easily my favourite band and they were brilliant that day. No More Maps/No More Roads hasn’t been released yet but they’re in the midst of recording it at the moment, so expect a release soon.

  3. They’re awesome, aren’t they. Wait til Ryan China returns, who does a lot of lead tracks also.

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