All photos by Jiang Mengyang (Gates To The Other Side/ Free Sex Shop)
Future Orients bring their calculated intensity for a strong set at School Bar Beijing.
Your first impression of Beijing up and comers Future Orients is that they break the mold from the messy, black clothed, tattooed norm that School Bar is typically known for. While they certainly look like a rock band, they wear white t-shirts instead of black (albeit with one Sex Pistols white t-shirt), and drummer Xiao Guo even wears khakis (sometimes with no shirt at all). This aesthetic translates to their performance style as they trade the typical noise punk of School in favor of a more light hearted, but equally powerful rock set.
Future Orients’ debut album Eat Or Die ranges from the soft post rock sound of Explosions in the Sky to the more punk heavy sound that would fit School. However, their live performance finds them at a happy medium between upbeat pop and angry rock. The result is an emotional blend of music full of thumping drums and grooving bass lines that keep the crowd up and head bobbing throughout the entire performance. “I want to disappear,” whispers frontman A Yong, before methodically repeating the phrase louder and louder until it becomes a scream to end the set. With the vocals backed by crisp beats and a bouncing rhythm section, Future Orients give you tunes you can dance to, but fierce ones at that.
The band’s songwriting serves as a collective exercise, with each member providing equal input in the creative process. This philosophy translates to their live performance, as no face overshadows the others on stage. Frontman A Yong sings and plays lead guitar, but the band has a way of keeping attention directed on the performance at whole versus on any individual. Despite the exciting, danceable nature of the music, the group stays relatively composed on stage. There’s no vicious dancing or head bobbing, and no commentary between songs. Even A Yong’s “xiexie” at the end of the set feels restrained. But instead of theatrical dance moves and fluff, the band gives the audience their utmost concentration on their instruments and sound. Rather than yell and flail at the often messy School crowd, Future Orients prefers to let the music do the talking.