Pop Punk Saved My Life @ New Little Bar

They bounced, they moshed, they even stage dived at the New Little Bar on Friday night as the Pop Punk Saved My Life tour swaggered its way into Chengdu with the confidence of a music scene currently on a high.
Two bands were on the bill -- The Spacepimps from the US and Secret 7 Line – and their lack of adventurism on the night was made up for by a powerful energy that delighted the young crowd of about 250 in the packed Yulin venue.
The Spacepimps, who have shared stages with Fall Out Boy, Story of the Year and New Found Glory, opened the evening with their poppy punk tunes. They didn’t bring any new music to Chengdu, but cleverly used pop-punk ingredients to heat up the Little Bar. This show won’t go down in the history books, but both audience and band seemed to have a great time.
Headliners Secret 7 Line from Japan are a three-piece with three China tours already under their belt. A few years ago in Beijing they opened up for MXPX and seem to have won the hearts of a lot of Chinese youngsters. Secret 7 Line will play both Zhangbei and Midi festivals, but found time to come to Chengdu to play a small club show as well.
Punkrock in Japan already has a good track record with bands such as High Standard making waves in the 90. Newer bands like Good 4 Nothing and Secret 7 Line took over the pop-punk torch and have found a ready-made audience in China, thanks to the success of Chinese pop-punk groups like Reflector (Fanguangjing).
We were surprised to see lots of singalongs, circlepits, jumping and even some stage dives and our Japanese friends easily entertained the audience with their 15 punkrock songs. We were waiting for them to play their Black Eyes cover from the legendary Lagwagon album “Hoss” [check it out on Douban] but instead got an hour of easy pop-punk. Highlights of the evening were the YMCA cover and these friendly Japanese people doing their best to speak some Chinese on stage -- niubility! Again, the songs were never really original, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. Japanese bands are for the most part very technical and really tight. Secret 7 Line were no different and could easily be ranked alongside their American musical brethren.
Chengdu is a good place for pop-punk right now with foreign and Chinese bands attracting good crowds. And thanks to Hualun from Chongqing and Chengdu’s own Space Rocket and Big Flip, the pop-punk scene is growing. Keep your eye on it.
(This is a review of the Pop Punk Saved My Life tour at New Little Bar on Saturday, July 30, 2011)