Beijing band Nova Heart's first London show

By Rory Howard
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 25, 2015
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Nova Heart -- Beijing's answer to 70s and 80s punk-rock band, Blondie -- started their pre-Glastonbury tour at London's Old Last Blue live music venue on June 22, 2015.

Nova Heart -- Beijing's answer to Blondie -- starts their pre-Glastonbury tour at London's Old Last Blue live music venue on June 22, 2015. [Photo/]


The small crowd in London's Old Last Blue venue is made up of what appeared to be friends of Nova Heart's and expats returned home to London from China who had caught one of Nova Hearts gigs in Beijing. Given the initial handful of people, London needs forgiving for not knowing that they are being graced with the presence of one of China's number one indie bands.

Front woman Helen Feng, bassist Bo Xuan, guitarist Zong Can, and drummer Shi "Atom" Lu are set to play several sets in London before heading off to play Glastonbury Festival, one of the world’s biggest music festivals. This is a groundbreaking event for China's indie music scene; Nova Heart are one of the few Chinese bands to play Glastonbury in its 45-year history.

They will also be joined by mainland rock-reggae outfit Long Shen Dao, as well as Taiwan band My Skin Against Your Skin, singer and band Wei Waa, and electro from DJ Code.

From the start of the gig it is clear that Glastonbury's La Pussy Parlure Stage is in for a pleasant surprise from 6 o'clock on Friday, June 26, 2015. Nova Heart started the evenings gig without Helen. Heavy repetitive drums, the looped baseline and distorted guitars set the scene. The band tore away at their instruments on the small stage with the energy of a spider trapped in a jar and Helen joined them from the crowd to rattle things up even more.

Before the gig, Helen was walking around the darkened venue making chit-chat with people in such a way that you would not assume her to be the quirky theatrical front piece to a punky electro band. Yet when Helen was on stage she was transformed.

She whispered down the microphone in tones akin to a female voiceover in an infomercial. She lined the audience up like a small army before breaking into their first song. Crashing drums, heavy bass and electronic sounds shook the room. When Helen was singing the audience could hear a trained clear voice, yet when she whispered into the microphone the voice was lost amongst the music, but we suspected that not being able to get a hold of the narrative might be part of the theatrics.

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