Shanghaiist was in the mood for jazz last night, so after a simply delicious dinner at Simply Thai, we headed up Fuxing Lu to JZ Club. Unlike the bluesy house band at Cotton Club, JZ tends more toward roots jazz and improv jams, so we were surprised when we showed up to find jazz fusion/electro/drum & bass combo This Is Junglecat setting up on the stage. Led by vocalist Jess Meider and drummer Mico, the Beijing-based band blends jazz standards with electronica, drum loops and rap, creating a decidedly unique sound.
This is Junglecat opened with an electrified version of “Fever” mixed with Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” At least the vocals were from those two songs — everyone in the band seemed to be playing something different, resulting in a disjointed mish-mash of sounds. The first set hopped from genre to genre, finally tightening up for a superfunky cover of Dianne Reeves’ feminist anthem, “Endangered Species” before closing with an acoustic singer-songwriter ballad. When they got up for their second set, Junglecat seemed to have found their groove. The beats, guitar and vocals all came together to form a cohesive sound — and it was good. Even the electronic harmonizer that had been so overused on previous songs found its niche in the reggae rocker “Stuck In My Head.”
With Shanghai’s live music scene dominated by cheesy cover bands and karaoke singers, it’s always refreshing to see an innovative band. This Is Junglecat‘s genre-bending may not always work, but when it does it’s great. We hope that as they continue to hone their sound they’ll come back to visit us in the musical wasteland of Shanghai.
More photos from the show here.